Greece, Russia in €2b Turkish Stream Deal

Greece, Russia in €2b Turkish Stream DealGreece, Russia in €2b Turkish Stream Deal

Russia and Greece on Friday signed a preliminary agreement to set up a joint venture to build a pipeline through Greece, Moscow said.

“This is the start of a large investment project in Greece that is beneficial to the country’s economy,” Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said at the signing ceremony on the sidelines of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, quoted by his ministry’s official Twitter account.

The construction costs are about €2 billion and the parties will sign a roadmap Friday, Novak told RIA at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum.

He estimated the total volume of supplies at 47 billion cubic meters. The two countries will jointly own the venture, ministry spokeswoman Olga Golant told AFP.

Russian gas giant Gazprom had earlier proposed footing the bill for building a Greek pipeline extension of the Russia-Turkish energy venture TurkStream, which aims to deliver gas to Europe while bypassing Ukraine.

The signing came just before Russian President Vladimir Putin was set to hold talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras amid a banking crisis in Greece which may see the country default on its debts.

Moscow last year axed its South Stream project for a gas pipeline to southeastern Europe after construction had already begun, as relations with the European Union reached a nadir over Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict.

Instead Moscow announced a pipeline to Turkey, which should be ready in December 2016, and told European nations they would need to build links to get the gas.