East Vs. West Pipeline Tug-of-War—Why Greece Plays the Key Role

Oil pipeline pumping station. (Image: Greg Goebel/Wikimedia Commons)
Oil pipeline pumping station. (Image: Greg Goebel/Wikimedia Commons)

Throughout history, Greece has been known as a point where East meets West. In it’s current state of near financial bankruptcy, it seems like a sign of good fortune that global oil giants are now competing over who might lay their pipelines into Europe via Greece.

To solve it’s financial problems, Greece could definitely use a financial boost. However, the prospect of getting it from any EU country seems quite dim. Luckily, there are Azerbaijan and Russia, both of which are competing to lay a pipeline for their gas into the European market.

It’s a fortunate coincidence that such a financial investment could come from Russia, which is willing to invest in deeply debt-laden Greece amid its own sanctions and cutoffs by the European Union.

Apparently, all Greece would need to do to solve it’s financial problems is agree to a pipeline project that would enable Russia to pump oil into Europe via Greece.

In an interview with RT International21WIRE’s Patrick Henningsen said: “I think Greece is in a situation where it has to choose between debt and investment. And if the Greeks are looking toward Brussels—they are looking toward a debt restructuring agreement, and looking toward future debt.”

Hi octane gasoline in Italy. (Image: Eyta/Wikimedia)

Hi octane gasoline in Italy. (Image: Eyta/Wikimedia)

The U.S. is trying to convince Greece to reject Turkish Stream, the project that would deliver Russian gas to Europe via Greece. They would rather have Greece back the Western planed Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which is supposed to start near Kipoi, on the border of Turkey and Greece. It would run 540 miles through Greece and Albania, all the way to the Adriatic Sea Coast.

The TAP is supposed to supply Europe with natural gas.

Even though oil dominates globally, regionally, natural gas is a major game changer in Europe.

The conflicts with the pipeline through the Ukraine over the past months has strongly proven that point.

It seems, however, that if the European peninsula would agree to the joint venture with Russia, it might put Greece in the center of tensions between the West and the East.

Not only would Greece benefit from the Turkish Stream, Russia too, which has been dented by Western sanctions, would gain a fresh opening to the European market again, and with the interdependency created by such a big deal, it would be difficult to close the doors on Russia with sanctions in the near future.

It seems the race for energy dominance is capable of bringing forth the dimmest side of man, but it can also light up our most humbling insights into what we, as a race, really need to survive in the future to come.

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