Baku, Azerbaijan, May 16
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
The ambiguous position of the Greek government on the projects implemented by Azerbaijan, and in which Greece itself is among the major players, is causing a growing concern of all the involved parties.
Previously, the EU urged the parties, in particular Greece, to comply with commercial agreements concluded as part of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).
The US too didn't remain silent calling upon the Greek leadership to abandon the "Turkish Stream" project in favor of TAP. And now the consortium for TAP's development has expressed its opinion on the matter.
Rikard Scoufias, TAP's country manager for Greece, recently speaking at an energy conference in Athens, said the development of this pipeline, to carry Azerbaijan's natural gas to Europe, promises to elevate Greece's geopolitical role.
He also said that during TAP's designing, its route was adjusted 120 times, adding that the pipeline is completely safe.
Scoufias made it clear that all the concern of the authorities and the people of Greece, from an environmental point of view, are unfounded.
TAP project's implementation is proceeding today at a rapid pace. All the necessary agreements, in particular those for the supply and purchase of gas as part of this project, have been concluded.
And at the moment, the work is underway in preparation for the gas pipeline's construction, which is to start next year.
Greece, as one of the countries through which this pipeline will pass, has a number of agreements, both of political and technical nature.
Among them there is Greece's governmental agreement with TAP consortium, as well as a signed and then ratified intergovernmental agreement on TAP's construction between Albania, Italy and Greece.
This suggests that Greece within the framework of this project has contractual obligations that must be met.
It should be noted that Greece is one of the European countries that are heavily dependent on gas imports from Russia. Today this dependence is 54.8 percent.
According to BP, the gas consumption in Greece in 2013 was 3.6 billion cubic meters. Of this volume, some 2.4 billion cubic meters were imported from Russia.
As part of the contracts concluded with Azerbaijan, Greece will annually receive one billion cubic meters of gas. This means the country can reduce its dependence on Russian supplies by almost twice, what would be a significant breakthrough in the country's energy security.
Aside from that, the construction of TAP in Greece, as it has been repeatedly declared by the consortium itself, will bring great investments to the country.
TAP's longest part - 545 kilometers, with its total length of 870 kilometers, will be constructed in the territory of Greece.
Its construction will be carried out without the financial support of the Greek government. And so, this project will become the largest source of direct investments for Greece.
According to TAP, the project will ensure the influx of investments to Greece worth 1.5 billion euros, and will create over 10,000 new jobs.
Against the backdrop of all this, Greece's statements about the lack of profitability of the TAP project for the country, seem to be inappropriate.
And instead of looking for greater benefits in this project, the country would better make every effort for its implementation, and stick to it.
This is especially true given the current economic situation in Greece.
Aygun Badalova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AygunBadalova