Greece to invest $2 bn in Turkish Stream, will sign memorandum asap - Energy Minister

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stands nearby, during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, April 8, 2015. (Reuters / Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Greece plans to sign a document on political support for Gazprom’s Turkish Stream project at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, its Energy Minister announced on Monday. The country plans to invest $2 billion in its construction.

A memorandum on political support for the gas pipeline project will be prepared by June 18-20, when the International Economic Forum (SPIEF-2015) will be held in Russia’s St. Petersburg, Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis announced on Monday.

Right there we will try to sign an agreement, a so-called ‘memorandum’ on the political support of the said gas pipeline between Greece and Russia,” the minister said, as quoted by TASS. Greece “will be proactively drafting a document,” the official added.

READ MORE: US urges Greece to reject Turkish Stream, focus on Western-backed project

Greece’s part of the pipeline, which will be delivering Russia’s gas on from the Turkish border, will cost some $2 billion, Lafazanis said in an interview with the Rossiya24 channel. The minister said that a Greek state company will be involved in the project, adding that there has been “big interest” from many companies wishing to take part in the construction and future operation of the pipeline.

READ MORE: Turkish Stream will make Greece Europe’s energy hub- Putin

The project could contribute not only to economic development in Greece, but positively affect the whole region, the minister said. Up to 20,000 jobs could be created if the project is realized, he said, expressing his confidence that “the people of Greece will benefit from it.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin has previously expressed his belief that, by joining the project, Greece could become one of the main power distribution centers in Europe. Athens could earn hundreds of millions of euros annually from gas transit fees, Putin said during Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ official visit to Moscow in April.

READ MORE: Greece to be effective partner with Russia’s Gazprom - Forbes

Plans to construct the Turkish Stream pipeline were announced by Russia’s gas giant Gazprom last year. The new project replaces the South Stream project, which Russia was forced to withdraw from due to EU objections over its construction.

The new pipeline, which Gazprom plans to build from Turkey to the border with Greece, will be part of the Turkish Stream project aimed at delivering Russian gas to Europe without the participation of Ukraine. Russia intends to completely abandon its gas supplies through Ukraine by 2019. The EU would construct the pipelines leading further on from Greece.