Russian and Greek Energy Ministers Alexander Novak and Panagiotis Lafazanis have signed a memorandum on extension of the Turkish Stream to Greece within the framework of SPIEF-2015. The joint company engaged in the construction will have 50/50 shares. Novak said that the construction will take place in 2016-2019, resulting in a pipeline with a capacity of 47 billion cubic meters. Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras today and praised Greece for its activeness. The memorandum will have been updated by November.
Alexey Kokin, a senior analyst of Uralsib Capital, said that Gazprom was hoping that Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and others would reorient towards the Turkish Stream as a gas source. The European Union will need to express its position on the pipeline project.
The analyst reminded that Greece was in a complicated financial situation and needed Russia's political assistance. Other countries in the region will still orient towards the EU, he believes. Kokin predicts that the EU will approve the project without gas imports from Iran or Azerbaijan. Withdrawal of Greece from the European Union would not have much impact on the situation, he assumes.
Alexey Belogoryev, deputy director for energy at the Institute of Energy and Finances, noted that the memorandum was predictable and very important, though its realization was not guaranteed. He reminded that Gazprom had stacks of such memorandums and it would be a relief to realize at least half of them. In his words, Greece is not ready to invest into the gas pipeline. The construction is conditioned by the European Commission's approval. Overall, the expert speculated that the pipeline will most likely have two lines, to Greece and Bulgaria at best.
Belogoryev says Brussels is indifferent to the memorandum due to the EU's powerful legal weight. Besides, the document does not compel the countries to act. The analyst noted that the memorandum had certain value for Macedonia and Serbia as a beacon. Their participation in the project will not depend on Greece's policy. Belogoryev doubts that Macedonia or Serbia would act independently from the will of the European Union.