Greece is seeking to secure benefits from the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) which is set to bring gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, the Greek energy minister said on Wednesday.
TAP is the largest project underway to bring new supplies to European buyers after Russia shelved plans in December to build its South Stream gas pipeline to southern Europe.
The 870-km (540-mile) pipeline will link Azerbaijan’s giant Shah Deniz II field with Italy, crossing through Turkey, Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea.
Greek Energy Minister Lafazanis met Azeri officials in Athens earlier this week, including executives from TAP stakeholders BP and Azeri state energy firm SOCAR, and agreed to start discussions on the benefits Greece could expect from allowing the pipeline to cross its territory.
“Without questioning our support for TAP, we want offsetting benefits for our country and our people … which we think is reasonable and fair,” Lafazanis told an energy conference.
An energy official told Reuters that cash-strapped Greece might ask for a stake in the pipeline, or charge transit fees.
BP, SOCAR and Norwegian energy firm Statoil each own 20 percent of TAP. Fluxys has a 19 percent share, while Enagas owns 16 percent and Axpo owns 5 percent.
Azerbaijan aims to transport 16 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year from the Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea to Turkey and on to Europe by the end of the decade.
Lafazanis, who represents the far left flank of the new Greek government, has strongly opposed the projected privatisations of Greek energy firms, including the sale of the country’s dominant power utility PPC and power grid operator ADMIE that Greece had agreed with its EU/IMF lenders.
On Wednesday, attacking privatisations that the previous government has already completed, Lafazanis said: “We’re radically opposed to the privatisation of strategic sectors and businesses of our economy and above all in the infrastructure and energy sector.”
“Splitting up state firms has not helped our economy recover and has not offered a way out of the crisis. On the contrary, it exacerbated our country’s nightmare by worsening the energy poverty and the economic crisis,” he added.