MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. The issue of southern routes for delivery of energy resources from Russia to the EU remains on the agenda, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an article published by the Greek daily Kathimerini ahead of his visit to Athens.
"Beginning with 2006, Gazprom has been actively promoting the South Stream [gas pipeline] project but its implementation became impossible because of a prohibitive position taken by the European Commission," he wrote. "Although we had to curtail the project, the issue of southern routes for deliveries of our energy resources to the EU member-states remains on the agenda."
"Russia gives consistent support to the diversification of the routes by which energy resources are transported as this will raise the reliability of supplies and consequently will boost Europe's energy security as a whole," Putin said.
On the whole, he described cooperation with Athens in the energy sector as an important element of the multidimensional Russian-Greek relations.
Putin recalled that Russia had been reliably supplying Greece with natural gas over the past two decades, adding that the existing contract had been prolonged through to 2026 on conditions favorable for Athens.
"As we are aware of the Greek government's plans to turn the country into a considerable energy junction in the Balkans, we have persistently included Greece in the plans to build up supplies of hydrocarbons to Central and Western Europe," he wrote.
In addition to that, in February Gazprom signed a memorandum of understanding with Edison SpA of Italy and DEPA SA of Greece on deliveries of Russian gas to the two countries across the floor of the Black Sea and via third countries.
Russia could also facilitate optimization of Greece's transport infrastructure, Putin wrote. The case in hand is the participation of Russian companies in the bidding contests for the assets of Greek railways and facilities in the seaport of Thessaloniki.
"Standing next in line are other projects that can give a considerable boost to the potential of bilateral cooperation," Putin said.
On December 1, 2014, Putin said Russia would not implement the South Stream gas pipeline project on the background of a sharp deterioration of relations with Europe. The Italian corporation Eni was one of Gazprom's partners in that project.
The South Stream with an estimated cost of $ 15.5 billion was designed to supply 67 billion cubic meters of natural gas predominantly to Southern Europe in bypass Ukraine.
The Russian ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, said later neither Russia nor the EU had any plans to breathe new life into the South Stream project.