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Home News Gazprom chief to meet Greek PM after reports of pipeline deal

Gazprom chief to meet Greek PM after reports of pipeline deal

Published on 20/04/2015

The boss of Russian energy giant Gazprom will meet Greece's prime minister in Athens on Tuesday, after reports that the two parties are set to sign a pipeline deal in which Russia would make billions in an advance payment to cash-strapped Greece.

Gazprom’s Alexei Miller will meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as well as Environment Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis to discuss energy issues, the environment and energy ministry said in a statement.

A Greek official told AFP on Saturday that the two parties are due to sign an agreement to extend the planned Turkish Stream pipeline to Greece.

Athens stands to receive around five billion euros ($5.4 billion) in advance payment for future gas transit fees, said the Greek source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A spokesman for Greece’s energy ministry would not confirm if such an agreement is due to be signed, and would only say that the two sides “have several different energy issues to discuss such as the pipeline as well as gas prices.”

If the deal is indeed sealed, any advance payment would be a welcome source of revenues for Greece, which is struggling to unlock 7.2 billion euros in desperately needed international bailout funds.

Analysts are however sceptical, as the Turkish Stream pipeline is not expected to come into service until 2019 and Ankara and Moscow are struggling to come to a final deal.

“2019 is a long way into the future. I’d be surprised if Russia were really to pay Greece such an amount of money four years in advance for a risky project which still needs to be vetted by EU regulators,” said Holger Schmieding of Berenberg bank.