‘Quite realistic’: Putin doesn’t rule out extending Turkish Stream pipeline into Greece

‘Quite realistic’: Putin doesn’t rule out extending Turkish Stream pipeline into Greece
Russia is ready to cooperate with Athens in the energy sector, President Vladimir Putin has said, not ruling out the prospect of extending the Turkish Stream gas pipeline into Greece.

“We are ready to carry out large infrastructural energy projects together with Greece. It includes the possibility to link Southern Europe through Greece to the Turkish Stream,” Putin said on Friday during a joint conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Moscow.

“A pipeline from Greece to Italy has been nearly completed. The pipe is built, yet there’s no gas there. Yet we’ll think together on how to fill this line with some real product,” Putin added. “It’s certainly possible, I don’t rule it out, moreover I believe it to be quite realistic.”

Such a project increases the significance of Greece as the “regional energy hub,” Tsipras said on his part, complaining, however, over “double standards” the EU bureaucrats have been showing over the Turkish Stream and other projects involving Russia.

Greece used to be one of the countries to host a section of the now-deprecated South Stream gas pipeline. The project, however, met stiff resistance in Brussels, which pressed participating countries – namely Bulgaria – to stop working on it. The project was scrapped late in 2014, ultimately giving way to the Turkish Stream

The Turkish Stream was agreed by Russia and Turkey in October 2016. The first branch will deliver gas to Turkish consumers, while the second one will bring it to countries in southern and south-eastern Europe. In November, Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, unveiled the offshore section of the pipeline, which is expected to be fully completed late in 2019. So far, there are plans to extend it into Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia.

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