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US to Greece on the subject of Russian (don’t you dare!) gas or American (congratulations!) LNG: 2015 and 2017

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December 8, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

Griechenland-blog.gr, and Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, from the German by Tom Winter

Two years ago, there was this:
Russian gas pipeline into Greece upsets the US
May 11, 2015 

Athens. The prospect of an extension of the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline to Greece causes undisguised concern and annoyance in the United States.

During his recent visit to Washington, Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias announced that his interlocutors had declared willingness to compete with a counter-offer to the plans for construction of a pipeline for the transport of Russian gas on Greek soil (continuation of the Turkish Stream pipeline, which, according to the objections of Sofia and Brussels replaces the much-discussed South Stream line)

Amos Hochstein, Special Representative and Special Energy Policy Coordinator of the State Department, actually arrived in Athens as announced, where he met on Thursday and Friday 07/08 May 2015 with State Minister Nikos Pappas, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and Panagiotis Lafazanis, the Minister for Production Reorganization and Energy. However, he did not provide any “counter-confirmation” and even attributed the relevant impression to a “misinterpretation.”

Hochstein brought Washington’s displeasure
Instead what Amos Hochstein conveyed was Washington’s anger at the prospect of building a Greek stream, and its intention to prevent it – by ensuring Athens’ dedication to prior plans compatible with the more global strategic intentions of the United States.

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And today, via Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, this:
Athens. Greece buys liquefied gas from the USA

Greece is the third European country to buy liquefied gas after Poland and Lithuania.

Geoffrey Pyatt, US ambassador to Greece, said on December 4 at the Economic Conference of the American-Greek Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Athens that, after Lithuania and Poland, Greece will be the third European country to import US Liquified Natural Gas. “The energy market is an obvious growth market. There is a clear interest on the part of US companies. It encourages me that there is a consensus between the US and Greek political views in this critical sector,” Pyatt said.

The US diplomat recalled that US President Donald Trump and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had discussed Washington’s “commitment to and optimism about” the Greek energy sector as a means of economic recovery in the Mediterranean.

According to Pyatt, Greece is at a turning point in order to establish itself as an important European energy hub. He made this statement in connection with the energy projects Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) in Alexandroupolis, the modernization of the Revithousa terminal, and the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector (IGB). Pyatt says these projects show the enormous energy potential of Greece.

“I was very pleased about the speech by Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Energy Union, at the recent Greek Energy Forum here in Athens (…).

“We agreed on the importance of energy diversification, on the regional role of Greece, and on the statement by the Prime Minister (Tsipras, ed.) On his visit to the US, with a view to energy diversification in Europe almost every major new energy route that leads to Europe must pass through Greece,” said Pyatt. Above all, the US diplomat pointed out that European energy customers must free themselves from dependence on Gazprom. Hence the US LNG offer.

Answering German economic news’ question, whether the US LNG deliveries have the potential to replace Russian gas imports via pipeline structures, a spokesman for UNIPER [major German energy corporation] said: “LNG from different regions of the world can, in a realm of diversified gas supply, in addition to pipeline gas and their own production, play an increasingly important role. At present, Europe’s supply of gas, predominantly from US LNG, is unrealistic – both in terms of volumes and prices. It is clear that LNG from the USA is currently very expensive. Europe is not ready to pay these prices. If we Europeans want to supply ourselves in the future predominantly with LNG, we must also be prepared to enter into price competition with Asia. Otherwise, the LNG will go to Asia or other parts of the world. 

“On the other hand, pipelines have the advantage of connecting countries and continents.” Tr comment: Indeed they do!

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