ECONOMY

Web of regional energy projects growing fast

Greece is currently involved in the realization of a number of important international energy projects that will carry natural gas from the Caspian Sea region to Western Europe through Turkey, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said yesterday. Speaking at the International Energy Agency (IEA) ministerial conference in Paris, he said construction of the pipeline linking Turkey with Greece will start in the next few weeks. Sioufas met with his Italian counterpart Claudio Scajola and they agreed to prepare a protocol to speed up the extension of the pipeline under the sea to Italy. He noted that Greece’s Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) and Italy’s Edison signed in Athens on April 27 a memorandum of understanding for the implementation of this project. Further, he said, in Sofia 20 days ago Russia, Bulgaria and Greece signed an agreement for construction of the oil pipeline that will link the Bulgarian port of Burgas with Alexandroupolis on the Aegean, bypassing the Bosporus strait as a route for the transportation of Russian oil. Sioufas said that the government was also busy improving the country’s legal framework for the energy sector. «Our initiatives are not restricted to the promotion of large international development schemes. The deregulation of the electricity and natural gas markets in Greece is to be completed shortly, and, at the same time, we are creating a new framework for boosting investment in the sector of renewable energy sources that will tap our rich potential in the production of wind and solar power, and in geothermal fields,» he said. Also in Paris, Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis today is due to address a session of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Greece’s current investment opportunities. The government sees foreign investment as a pinnacle of its drive to bolster the momentum of the Greek economy and in recent months has enacted significant tax breaks and investment incentives to that end.