Putin says new pipeline projects to boost Europe's energy security - 2007

More interesting news coming out of Moscow today. The newly proposed Alexandroupolis-Burgas oil pipeline will be used to transport Russian oil from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to the Greek Aegean port of Alexandroupolis. The oil pipeline in question will be an 'alternative route' for Russian oil - bypassing Turkey. The pipeline's construction is set to begin in 2008 and is estimated to be completed by 2011. The political ramifications of this pipeline is quite significant in that Russia is not only engaging NATO members Greece and Bulgaria 'directly' it is also bypassing its major competitor in the region, Turkey. This is the continuation of Russia's multi-pronged attempt at directly impacting the politics and economy of the region in question by empowering nations of the region that have healthy relations with Moscow. And, of course, Moscow also wants a 'reliable' route to export its most valuable national asset. Within this geopolitical backdrop, I see how Kosovo/Albania would be indirectly used by the West as a 'counterbalance' to a potential political/economic alliance developing between regional "Orthodox" nations, more specifically a regional alliance between Russia, Greece and Serbia.

Arevordi
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New pipeline projects to boost Europe's energy security - Putin



Karamanlis seeks closer ‘strategic’ ties in warm talks with Putin in Moscow


2007


Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday threw his weight firmly behind Russian President Vladimir Putin during an exceptionally cordial meeting in Moscow where the two leaders agreed to boost bilateral ties, particularly in the crucial energy sector. Karamanlis heaped praise on Putin whom he referred to as «a friend» and congratulated him three times for his landslide victory in parliamentary elections in Russia earlier this month. Karamanlis appeared to plant Greece firmly in Moscow's camp, describing Russia as a «strategic partner.» «The historic ties between our countries are strengthening, particularly in the sphere of energy,» Karamanlis said. His comments followed the signature of a protocol - by Greek, Russian and Bulgarian officials - for the creation of a company to oversee the construction of the much-awaited Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline. Construction is to begin in the summer. Putin and Karamanlis also discussed Greece's involvement in another project: the planned South Stream natural gas pipeline which would bring Russian gas across the Black Sea to Bulgaria and other European countries. The two men are also due to discuss the planned purchase by Greece of more than 400 Russian tanks. Asked to comment on the outlook for defense procurement, Karamanlis was guarded: «We cannot predict how this will develop,» he said. It was unclear whether the thorny issue of Kosovo was discussed in detail (both Russia and Greece oppose plans for its independence from Serbia) but no public statements were made. On other issues though, Karamanlis and Putin abandoned the constraints of protocol and investigated ways to boost their «strategic partnership.» Questioned by a Russian journalist about the possible reactions of «Brussels bureaucrats» to this rapprochement, Karamanlis said, «Greece is a European country and works in the context of European policies... but bilateral ties are developed on the basis of national interests.» Putin appeared to challenge EU-US alignments: «The system of international relations is undergoing a period of transformation... the question is what world order will be established over the next few decades.»
 

Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w.../12/2007_91334

In related news:


Russian bonds reinforced


Projects to build an oil pipeline across the Balkans and a natural gas pipeline under the Black Sea will boost Europe's energy security, the Russian president said on Tuesday. Vladimir Putin, speaking after a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis in the Kremlin, said building the South Stream gas pipeline and the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline "will not only bring tangible economic dividends, but will improve energy security on the European continent." Karamanlis arrived in Moscow on December 17 on a two-day visit for talks focusing on energy cooperation. The Russian leader said the sides had discussed a wide range of bilateral measures to expand trade and economic cooperation.

"We believe that we should concentrate our efforts on advancing major bilateral and multilateral agreements, including the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and the South Stream gas pipeline," he said. Russia, Bulgaria, and Greece signed a memorandum on the oil pipeline in April 2005. Once completed, the pipeline will pump 35 million metric tons of oil a year (257.25 million bbl), a volume that could eventually be increased to 50 million metric tons (367.5 million bbl). The South Stream natural gas pipeline is set to cover over 900 km (560 miles) under the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria and supply 30 billion cu m of gas annually to the European Union. Possible routes for the land section, which will pass through Greece, are still being discussed. Speaking after the talks, the Greek prime minister praised energy cooperation with Russia.

"Our cooperation is advancing rapidly, in particular the procedures linked to the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline - a project that will contribute to Europe's energy security and turn our country into an important energy transit corridor. We also discussed natural gas cooperation and the South Stream project," Karamanlis said. Putin said that during the Greek premier's visit, Russia, Bulgaria and Greece have signed a tripartite protocol on establishing an international project company for the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline. "This document is the penultimate step toward practical implementation of this project." Putin said that during discussions with Karamanlis, the sides had expressed similar approaches to many international issues.

"During our meeting, we discussed a wide range of European and international problems. Our approaches towards solving many of these issues coincide. These issues include first and foremost the situation in the Balkans, in particular the Kosovo problem, and also the settlement of the Cyprus problem, and the development of Russia-EU and Russia-NATO partnerships," Putin said. The Greek premier said: "bilateral relations in all spheres are developing very dynamically and have transformed into strategic partnership based on common historical and cultural values." Karamanlis also said Greece was ready to share its experience with Russia in hosting Olympic Games, and proposed to announce a Year of Russia in Greece and Year of Greece in Russia before the 2014 Winter Olympics, which are to be held in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20071218/93015464.html



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