Brussels, 7 July 2000
European Commission, Greece and Turkey jointly promote energy network connections
Following an initiative of Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten, of Foreign Minister George Papandreou of Greece and of Foreign Minister Ismael Cem of Turkey, a trilateral Working Group has been created today in Brussels, aiming at setting up gas network interconnections between Greece and Turkey. The establishment of this Working Group is a significant and concrete step in the ‘rapprochement’ process between the two countries and opens new perspectives for energy supplies to European markets from new sources.
INOGATE (Interstate Oil Gas Transport to Europe) is a technical assistance programme of the EU (covering Central and Eastern Europe, including the Newly Independent States) to integrate the hydrocarbon transport networks between the Caucasus, Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe. It has achieved substantial success by paving the way to this progress in the interconnection of energy networks of Greece and Turkey. After three months of consultations led by the European Commission, the creation of a trilateral Working Group (EC – Greece – Turkey) within the framework of INOGATE was accepted by the authorities of both countries and its first meeting took place in Brussels today.
Commenting on this achievement, Commissioner Patten declared: “I welcome the decision taken by Ministers Papandreou and Cem to work with the European Commission, within the framework of INOGATE, to promote the strategic interconnection of gas supplies to the countries of South East Europe, in particular to the countries of the Balkans. It is a further concrete step of rapprochement between the two countries, with a very important potential for future investments. This effort will also facilitate the integration of networks between the Caspian Basin, the Black Sea, the Middle East and North Africa. It will in the longer term increase our security of supply, allow European consumers to benefit from the impact of increased competition on energy prices, and offer a secure alternative to maritime transport of hydrocarbons”.
The meeting today was chaired by Mrs Catherine Day, the Commission’s Deputy Director General for External Relations. The Greek Delegation was headed by Mr Papathanassopoulos, Secretary General of the Ministry of Development and the Turkish Delegation by Mr H. Yigitguden, Under Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Natural resources. Experts and managers from oil, gas and electricity companies of both countries also attended the meeting.
Participants examined perspectives for cooperation in the energy sector, in particular, for integrating networks through investment projects starting by 2002. The European Commission considers that with the recent accession of Turkey and Greece to the INOGATE Umbrella Agreement on the institutional framework of interstate oil and gas transport, the participation of Iran as an observer in INOGATE and with the latest decision to extend the programme to the Mediterranean countries, the conditions are now met to achieve substantial progress in the implementation of such strategic infrastructure.
Further information is available on the INOGATE web-site (http://www.inogate.com) or from the European Commission (Tel : +32(0)2-295.53.62).