27 July, 2007
A trilateral agreement for a natural gas pipeline signed by Greece, Italy and Turkey in Rome on Thursday was a historic event for all concerned, Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis stressed later the same day.
"The signature of the trilateral Italy-Greece-Turkey Intergover-nmental Agreement for the construction of the Southern European Natural Gas Corridor is a historic event, not just for the three countries but also for the countries of the Caspian Sea and the Middle East. It is an equally important project for Europe, since it ensures via Turkey and Greece the transport of natural gas from Asia to the major European markets," Karamanlis said.
He also pointed out that Greece was improving its position even further in Europe and the wider region with the signature of Thursday's agreement, in addition to those for the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, the completion of a Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline and a proclamation for the construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline,.
"With strategy and planning, our country is being converted into a major and powerful international conduit for oil, natural gas and electricity and is upgrading its geopolitical position and its international standing," the prime minister stressed.
Greece, Italy and Turkey sign natural gas pipeline agreement
Greece, Italy and Turkey on Thursday signed a tri-party agreement ensuring a project of creating a European Natural Gas Southern Corridor to transport natural gas from East to the West.
The agreement was signed in Rome by Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, Italy’s Economic Development Minister Pierluigi Bersani and Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Mehmet Hilmi Guler.
Speaking to reporters, the Greek minister said it was a significant day for all countries in the Caspian Sea and the Middle East and of course for Europe and noted that “the project linked Asia with Europe for the first time and this is a development with pan-European and global dimension”.
The ground section of the Greek-Italian natural gas pipeline will be built by DESFA, while the underwater pipeline by DEPA and Edison. The Greek-Turkish section of the pipeline, which is almost ready, will be inaugurated by the prime ministers of Greece and Turkey by the end of August.
“It is a deal with large and significant benefits for us all, for the three countries and their people,” the Greek minister said, adding that Greece has already proposed a draft agreement with the government of Azerbaijan for the supply of natural gas and said he had discussed the issue with Italy and Turkey.
Sioufas said Italy and Turkey were “strategic energy partners” and noted that the project was another starting point to further enhance economic, development and energy relations between the three countries.
The three-party agreement between Greece, Italy and Turkey is a continuation of bilateral agreements signed between Greece-Turkey and Greece-Italy. Its aim is to commit the three countries in building the natural gas pipeline and to maintain a unified management of the project. The pipeline, known as South European Natural Gas Corridor, is characterized as top priority by the European Commission and the project will become the first significant energy infrastructure in the wider South European region.
The two bilateral agreements signed by the Greek government, although promoted the project, did not ensure the supply of natural gas throughout the pipeline. The tri-party agreement introduces the term Interconnection Turkey Greece Italy (ITGI).
In April 20, 2007, Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, during an official visit to Ankara, proposed the signing of a tri-party agreement. A draft plan was prepared by the Greek delegation and sent to the governments of Italy and Turkey. A first meeting between representations of the three parties was held in May 22 in Ankara and a second one in Athens May 31, finalizing many articles of the treaty.
The final agreement was reached during the Greek minister’s visit to Ankara, in July 18.
Under the agreement, DEPA has a 50 percent share in the underwater pipeline, called Poseidon. Greece has secured its needs of natural gas from a Greek-Turkish section of the pipeline which has an annual capacity of 11.5 billion cubic metres, of which 8.8 billion will be distributed to Italy and 2 billion to Greece.
Source: Athens News Agency