Greek-Russian pipe plan may ease Turkish starits
ISTANBUL - Hurriyet Daily News
This file photo shows numbers of tankers off-shore Istanbul as they wait to pass through the Bosphorus Strait. Turkey is trying to reduce the number of ships passing through its straits in a bid to avoid any accidents that might result in catastrophe. Daily News Photo, Emrah GULER.
Greece and Russia will discuss in Athens next week Bulgaria’s plans to pull out of a 2007 agreement to build an oil pipeline bypassing Turkey’s crowded Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits.
The move comes when Russia said it will reduce the number of tankers passing through Turkish straits.
The Greek-Russian Energy Committee will meet Dec. 12 to discuss how to handle the latest developments, according to an emailed statement from the Athens-based Environment, Energy and Climate Change ministry Dec 9.
From Burgas to Alexandroupolis
Bulgaria will propose dissolving the trilateral agreement for a proposed 285 km pipeline from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to the Greek port of Alexandroupolis on the Aegean or will withdraw unilaterally in 12 months, Energy and Economy Minister Traicho Traikov told reporters in Sofia earlier this week.
The “strong and permanent commitment” of the Greek and Russian governments was reaffirmed at a meeting in Athens on Dec. 9 between Greece’s Deputy Energy Minister Yannis Maniatis and Russian ambassador Vladimir I. Chkhikvishvili, according to Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, Russia has announced it will limit its petrol and petrochemical exports via the Black Sea, which could ease tanker traffic on Turkish straits.
Reducing tanker traffic on
the two straights has been a source of contention between Turkey
and Russia. Russia uses the straits to transport petrol from the Black
Sea, but Turkey wants to reduce the level of tanker activity to
avoid a risk of a catastrophic accident or spill.
However, building bypass pipelines in Greece or Bulgaria would not make tanker traffic on the straits any safer: “One or two oil tankers less per day would not reduce the larger risks,” a report by IHS
Cambridge Associates said, Reuters reported.
The real risk comes from older storage tankers, which are poorly managed and are not as well equipped as the petrol tankers, the report said. k HDN