Gazprom, Edison, Depa Renew South Stream Vows
After ditching two Black sea pipeline projects for delivering gas to southern Europe – South Stream and Turk Stream – Russia’s monopoly Gazprom has come up with a new-ish plan.
It signed an MOU with Italy’s Edison and Greece’s Depa to “supply natural gas from Russia under the Black Sea through third countries to Greece and from Greece to Italy," it said.
The MOU was signed in Rome February 24 by Gazprom's CEO Alexei Miller, Edison’s CEO Marc Benayoun and Depa’s CEO Theodoros Kitsakos.
According to Gazprom, the new deal proposes to “organize the southern route for supplying Russian natural gas to Europe."
The new scheme will involve an Interconnector Greece-Italy (ITGI Poseidon), a project proposed some years ago for shipping gas from the second phase of the Shah Deniz gas field in the Caspian to Europe. In the event it was, like Nabucco, rejected by the Shah Deniz consortium in favour of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline.
The joint statement by the three companies said that they intended to make use of the work already done by Depa and Edison in the context of ITGI.
“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,” the joint statement quoted Edison’s Benayoun.
ITGI was in quite advanced stage when involved in battle over Shah Deniz gas. With a transport capacity of about 12bn m³/yr, the 800-km pipeline involved two sections: one of 600 km crossing Greece and an offshore section of 200 km under the Ionian Sea, also known as Poseidon.
It was also included in the European Commission's Projects of Common Interest and granted 25 years' third party access exemption.
There was also a link between the Greek and Turkish grids which was considered as a part of the overall scheme. Shah Deniz gas would cross Turkey.
According to sources, now ITGI proposes to double capacity to deliver 20bn m³/yr to southern Italy.
However the most intriguing part in a new gas supply deal is a Black sea route. In late 2014 Russia abandoned its long-proposed South Stream pipeline project that would deliver gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and then further to other southeast European countries and came up with a new plan: TurkStream that would connected Russia to Turkey.
But worsening political relationships between Russian and Turkey meant that this project was halted last year.
There had been speculation in the Bulgaria media of possibility of revitalisation of subsea scheme in Black with gas delivery from Russia to Bulgaria with further pumping to Greece and Italy.
According to head of East European Gas Analysis Michail Korchemkin the “third countries” referred to in the Gazprom statement is most likely Bulgaria. Otherwise it will be impossible to deliver gas to Greece considering the deteriorating relations between Russia and Turkey, he told Russian broadcaster RBK.
However Korchemkin doubts if the new project will be implemented at all considering Gazprom’s lack of funds and sanctions against Russia.