The Russian pipeline does not in any way compete with the Vertical Gas Corridor, Energy minister says in Sofia

The Russian pipeline carrying natural gas via Turkey and Greece does not in any way compete with the Vertical Gas Corridor (VGC) being planned by Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis assured his counterparts in Sofia, Bulgaria on Wednesday.

Speaking one day after his meeting in Athens with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller about the Russian pipeline project – which is to traverse Greece and supply gas to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Serbia, Hungary and the rest of central Europe – Lafazanis pointed out that the two pipelines would cross and supply different countries on their path.

Lafazanis was in the Bulgarian capital for the first meeting of the high-level group on the VGC, attended by his counterparts from Bulgaria and Romania.

The minister presented a detailed report on the government’s plans on energy connections, noting that Greece was in talks for its potential participation in the construction of the Russian pipeline “in accordance with European law and the third energy package.” The project is intended to replace the existing Russian natgas route via Ukraine to central Europe, which will cease operating in 2019.

He noted that the VGC linking the natgas systems of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania was not only potential solution in the case of an energy crisis but promoted the interlinking of the region with “Europe’s energy arteries, putting an end fo the isolation of our countries” and promoting a convergence in gas prices.

Referring to the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), he said this would provide southeast Europe’s most efficient access to new sources of natural gas, from various areas and not just the Caspian Sea. He also noted the possibility of supplying the Balkans through the Liquified Natural Gas station at Revythousa in Greece.