US urges Athens to focus on TAP, not Turkish Stream

Washington increased the pressure on Athens on Friday to concentrate on the completion of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) rather than devote efforts toward the extension of the planned Turkish Stream pipeline so it runs through Greece.

“What we agreed on is it’s important to focus on what projects are on the table today and that is TAP, that will interconnect to the Azerbaijani pipeline. That is what’s on the table for Greece today,” Amos Hochstein, the US special envoy for energy affairs, said after talks with Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis and State Minister Nikos Pappas.

The TAP pipeline is being built to transport natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, crossing through Turkey, Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea. Turkish Stream, which is backed by Russia but is yet to get off the ground, aims to carry gas from the Black Sea to Turkey. Athens is in talks with Moscow over extending the pipeline so it runs across Greece and to other parts of Europe.

“Turkish Stream doesn’t exist. There is no consortium to build it, there is no agreement to build it,” said Hochstein. “So let’s put that to the side, and wait until there’s some movement on that and see if that’s relevant or not relevant and in the meantime focus on what’s important – the pipeline we already agreed to, that Greece already agreed to.”

After the meeting with the US envoy, Lafazanis said the government would continue to back the Turkish Stream project because it believes it will be “useful” for Greece.

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