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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia, Greece Expect Fast Progress in Energy

ReutersGreek President Karolos Papoulias reviewing an honor guard at the start of his visit to Moscow on Wednesday.
ATHENS -- Deepening energy cooperation between Russia and Greece is expected to yield significant results soon in both the natural gas and oil sectors, ministers from the two governments said on the eve of a visit by Greek President Karolos Papoulias to Moscow.

Greece's development minister, Dimitris Sioufas, said the two sides were expecting to finalize an agreement shortly on a long-term extension of a contract to supply Russian natural gas to Greece.

"We are on a good road. In the coming period we expect to have a text for an intergovernmental agreement," Sioufas said.

He was speaking after meeting Tuesday with Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko, who later also met with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

In April, Gazprom chief Alexei Miller and Sioufas said the two governments were aiming to finalize a deal by year's end that would run to 2040. The current agreement lasts until 2016.

The ministers also cited progress in a project to pipe Russian oil from Bulgaria to Greece.

Both men signed in March a deal providing for construction of the 280-kilometer, $1.35 billion Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, designed to bypass the congested Bosporus strait. The Greek parliament and the State Duma have ratified the pipeline agreement and the two countries have also defined the companies that will be participating.

In early June, participating companies from Bulgaria, Russia and Greece are expected to meet in Moscow to thrash out details on constructing and exploiting the pipeline, he said. The companies are to set up an international construction and management company for the project.

Russia has majority control over the pipeline with Rosneft, Transneft, and a subsidiary of Gazprom sharing a 51 percent stake. Greece and Bulgaria hold 24.5 percent apiece.

Papoulias began a state visit to Russia on Wednesday.