On February 24, the chief executives of Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, Italy’s Edison and Greek state gas supplier DEPA – Alexey Miller, Marc Benayoun and Theodoros Kitsakos – signed in Rome a memorandum to develop a natural gas pipeline between Greece and Italy “that will make possible the implementation of the southern route for the supply of Russian gas to Europe,” the three companies said in a press release.
The agreement was signed after the meeting of Miller and Italy’s Economic Development Minister Federica Guidi in Rome on February 24. At the meeting, Giorgos Tsipras, general secretary of Greece’s Foreign Ministry, was also present.
“The agreement reflects interests of the parties in the route of Russian natural gas deliveries across the Black Sea via third countries to Greece and from Greece to Italy. To that goal, the parties intend to take advantage and make use of work performed by Edison and DEPA within the ITGI Poseidon project,” the press release said.
The Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy (ITGI) was shelved after it was excluded from the race to transport gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field across Greece and via the Ionian Sea to Italy. But DEPA never gave up on the planned pipeline and it may now be used to transport Russian gas, especially since the planned Turkish Stream pipeline was frozen, following the deterioration of relations between Moscow and Ankara.
“Development of intra-European gas transport capacities is an important component of improving reliability of supplies of natural gas, including the Russian one, to consumers all over Europe,” Miller said.
Benayoun said, “The potential development of this southern supply route, that is planned to be implemented in full compliance with EU laws and regulation, will increase Italy’s energy security of supply as well as its role as an important natural gas supply hub in Southern Europe, according to Italy’s National Energy Strategy”.
For his part, Kitsakos said, “The revival of ITGI Poseidon increases Europe’s energy security with an additional supply route that upgrades the role of Greece as a gate of natural gas via diversified sources and routes”.