According to Gazprom’s CEO comments on Greek TV, following his meeting with Greek PM Tsipras, Russia will guarantee 47BCM/YR of gas via Greece with the link to be built by a Russian-European group at a cost of around €2 billion.
First, talks with Russia on extension into Greece of Turkish Stream pipeline are positive, will continue with aim of concluding “soon,” Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis says in comments broadcast live on state-run Nerit TV.
Of course, this is merely diplomatic double talk, and all it suggests is that Russia is awaiting the official admission from Greece that it will pivot to Russia. For that to happen, Greece will have to formally state that in addition to creditor negotiations it is now openly looking to Moscow (and Beijing) for additional aid. The problem is that such a statement would promptly end any hopes of a Greek deal with its Troika creditors.
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As a reminder, Russia is not acting out of the kindness of his heart, but merely engaging in another calculated move, one which kills two birds with one stone:
- Following the death of the South Stream, whereby the EU pressured Bulgaria to refuse passage of the Russian gas pipeline to Europe, Russia needed an alternative route of bypassing Ukraine (and Bulgaria) entirely, something which according to Kremlin’s plan should happen over the next 3 years. And with Hungary and Serbia all eager to transit Russian gas to the Austrian central european [sic] gas hub, Greece was the missing link for a landline transit. With this agreement, Russia gets the green light to extend the Blue Stream all the way to Austria and preserve its dominance over the European energy market while leaving Ukraine in a completely barganining vacuum.
- Perhaps just as importantly, suddenly Russia will energy as the generous benefactor riding to Greece’s salvation, in turn even further antagonizing the Eurozone and further cementing favorable public opinion. As a reminder, several weeks ago we showed that Russia already has a higher approval rating among the Greek population thatn [sic] the Eurozone. In this way, Russia has just won a critical ally for the very low price of just €5 billion, without even having to restructure the entire Greek balance sheet should Greece have exited the euro and been attracted to the Eurasian Economic Union. Which also means that all future attempts to impose further sanctions on Russia by Europe will fail thanks to the Greek veto vote.
- Russia is not alone in seeking to divide the spoils of the collapsing Eurozone: Beijing has also sought to invest in Greece’s infrastructure and bought up €100m worth of short-term government debt last week the Telegraph reports.
Finally, for those confused about the flow of funds, here it is:
Russia (Gazprom) gives Greece money, which Greece uses to repay the IMF, which uses the Greek money to fund a loan to Kiev, which uses the IMF loan to pay Russia (Gazprom).
A perfect circle.
Full article: Greece May Sign Russia Gas Deal As Soon As Today (Zero Hedge)