Athens sees good news in the pipe­line

Nat­u­ral gas pro­ject in­volv­ing Greece set to be un­veiled to­day as Azer­bai­jan’s choice for fuel trans­mis­sion

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

Greek govern­ment of­fi­cial­sex­pressed op­ti­mism yes­ter­day that the Trans Adri­atic Pipe­line (TAP) pro­ject will be Azer­bai­jan’s choice for the trans­mis­sion of nat­u­ral gas to Western Europe over ri­val Nabucco West, with the ver­dict from Baku to be de­liv­ered to Athens to­day by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the con­sor­tium op­er­at­ing the Shah Deniz re­serve in the for­mer Soviet repub­lic.

In a cli­mate of hope­ful an­tic­i­pa­tion gen­er­ated by fa­vor­able news re­ports for the pipe­line that would pass through Greece, a mis­sion led by Bri­tish Pe­tro­leum’s vice pres­i­dent for Shah Deniz, Al Cook, and the pres­i­dent of the Az­eri state en­ergy com­pany So­car, Rov­nag Ab­dul­layev (or his deputy El­shad Nasirov), will visit Greece to­day to di­rectly in­form Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras of Baku’s fi­nal choice.

Later in the day the mis­sion will take part in a spe­cial event for the sign­ing of the Host Govern­ment Agree­ment for the TAP pro­ject. It will be signed by Fi­nance Min­is­ter Yan­nis Stournaras, Deputy En­ergy Min­is­ter Asi­makis Pa­pa­geor­giou and TAP Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Kjetil Tung­land.

“We are very near, but the is­sue is not yet closed,” a govern­ment of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day re­fer­ring to Greece’s ex­pec­ta­tion for TAP to carry Az­eri gas to Western Europe, thereby rais­ing the coun­try’s en­ergy pro­file.

Out­go­ing Al­ba­nian Prime Min­is­ter Sali Ber­isha im­plied last Fri­day that the de­ci­sion that also con­cerns Albania will be in fa­vor of TAP, while Ro­ma­nian me­dia re­ported yes­ter­day that govern­ment sources in Bucharest said, “TAP has 90 to 95 per­cent won the race with Nabucco.”

This came on the back of re­ports that the Shah Deniz con­sor­tium – con­sist­ing of BP, Sta­toil, To­tal and So­car – had reached its de­ci­sion last Thurs­day. On Fri­day the pres­i­dent of Azer­bai­jan, Il­ham Aliyev, vis­ited Brus­sels and in­formed Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jose Manuel Bar­roso of the de­ci­sion.

Yes­ter­day the New Europe news agency re­ported that a high-level of­fi­cial in the Az­eri cap­i­tal had con­firmed that TAP is the pipe­line of choice for the Shah Deniz con­sor­tium, which will make its for­mal an­nounce­ments on Fri­day af­ter in­form­ing Athens, Rome, Ti­rana and the coun­tries in­volved in the Nabucco West pro­ject.

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