US Energy Envoy: Greece should cooperate with Turkey on the Aegean Sea
Trade agreement between Greece and Turkey and pooling of oil and natural gas reserves located in the Aegean Sea, proposes Richard Morningstar, U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy for Eurasia and Energy. The pooling can happen even if the two countries have not previously resolve their differences, says Morningstar.
In an interview to newspaper Kathimerini, the American diplomat with broader experience in energy, recognizes the right of Greece, as a member of the Treaty on the Law of the Sea, to proclaim the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). He also highlights the benefits to be gained by Greece from participation in the Turkey-Greece-Italy gas pipeline (TGI), and submit a reflection on the Burgas – Alexandroupolis and South Stream.
US Envoy meets Greek Deputy FM
Richard Morningstar payed a short visit to Athens last weekend, where he held talks Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis .
A statement from the Greek Foreign Ministry said that the meeting focused on issues concerning recent developments in the energy sector in the wider region of Southeast Europe and Central Asia, as well as investment prospects in the region.
“More specifically, there was an analysis of the energy planning of Greece and the country’s emergence as a regional energy hub, while emphasis was put on the need for immediate promotion of the ITGI pipeline. Mr. Morningstar showed particular interest in diversification of natural gas supply sources, and in this context there was reference to the development of the Astakos energy center in cooperation with Qatar, the statement concluded.
Recent Developments on the Aegean “oil”
The meeting between Greek and American officials and the innovative proposal of Morningstar come a month after the STRATFOR report on Greece. There the Texas basedGlobal Intelligence Institute reduced Greece into a status of a “loser” and urged Athens indirectly to cooperate with Ankara on the Aegean natural resources.
Oddly enough deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos had claimed last May that there is “no oil in the Aegean Sea.”
Out of a sudden Greece declared to start surveying the Aegean for hydrocarbons at the beginning of June.
At the end of the same month the STRATFOR Institute published its report.
And by July Ankara started to send two oceanographic ships, the Piri Reis and the Cesme , to survey “on seismic activity for humanitarian reasons” as Turkey said. The surveys of the two ships in Northern Aegean Sea and East Mediterranean prompted Greek diplomats to issue protest notes and complain to Turkey ‘for violating the Greek continental shelf”. The Piri Reis will be surveying until August 20 and is currently sailing between Cyprus and the island of Rhodes at international waters.
What I learned from too much reading…
From all these talks, statements and reports I understand that:
1) There must be hydrocarbons – call it: petrol – in the Aegean Sea. Otherwise why all these coming and going? For an oil-empty bubble?
2) USA puts all possible pressure on Greece to cooperate with Turkey
3) Common exploitation of natural reserves of the Aegean Sea is inevitable
4) When powerful energy companies decide so, (financially) week countries have to follow.
5) The energy map of South East Europe is changing
6) Why were there no efforts to exploit the Aegean Sea for natural resources before?
7) Why now?
8) Is the political climate between Greece and Turkey so good as it has never been before? No, it’s not! But Greece is in the most difficult financial situation in its history. Even with the EUR 110 billion IMF/EU loan the crisis has not been dissolved. With such a huge debt on the shoulders, Greece is a weak player with no much field left for strategical maneuvers.
9) Coincidence? I don’t think so…
10) Financial Speculators can target and blackmail Greece at any time
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