Athens.- Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis discussed energy issues related to oil and natural gas with Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and other officials at the Maximos Mansion on Saturday. Sioufas later said infrastructure issues concerning energy were examined. He added that natural gas pipelines between Greece and Turkey were discussed, as well as the inauguration to be carried out jointly by Karamanlis and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the end of June.
The minister further said that they also discussed the agreement he has concluded with the relevant Italian minister responsible for energy issues, concerning the construction of the underwater pipeline linking Greece with Italy and Europe.
Lastly, developments on the issue of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline were also considered.
– Representatives of the Bulgarian, Greek and Russian governments signed a protocol on Friday, setting a timeframe for the creation of the international company responsible for constructing the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and outlining the objectives each party must fulfill in the short term.
The target date for creating the international company is December 31, 2005 and companies interested in participating in the project can begin to submit their bids.
“Today, we took a very big step,” Deputy Development Minister George Salagoudis, who represented Greece at the meeting, said. He described the meeting as confirming the commitment of Greece, Bulgaria and Russia as well as that of the interested companies, in proceeding with the construction of the ‘strategic’ pipeline.
During a joint press conference with General Director of the Russian Energy Ministry Anatoly Yanovski and Kalin Rogachev, Chief of the Cabinet of the Bulgarian Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, Salagoudis stressed the spirit of consensus which prevailed during the meeting among experts and among the companies from the three countries. The companies signed a separate memorandum for the creation of the international construction company.
According to Salagoudis, construction of the pipeline should begin in 2006 and be completed by 2008.
On the Greek side, he said that Hellenic Petroleum, the Latsis Group and Prometheas Gas comprise the Greek consortium Thrace, which has been promoting the project for years. Six years ago, Thrace funded the study for the pipeline carried out by Germany’s ILF.
Finally, Salagoudis emphasised the significance of the project on the geopolitical role and international standing of Greece and Bulgaria. “We are sending an important message to all countries in our region that cooperation among Balkan and Southeast European countries can create very significant works. It can upgrade relations between countries and peoples and it can bring to our previously-disturbed region the peace, cooperation and development that our peoples desire.”