US Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt stressed the important role of Greece, and especially of Alexandroupolis, in diversifying the sources of energy supply in Europe.
Speaking at an Oil and Gas Forum in Alexandroupolis, Pyatt said that the US is strongly supportive of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) which will connect to the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline, allowing gas from Azerbaijan to flow into the European market.
He noted that “very few people in Athens, other than perhaps my friend Mr. Stathakis, understand the scope and ambition of that project, not to mention its transformative impact on European energy security”.
He added that another key link is the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector.
“The IGB pipeline will provide a route for new sources of gas — whether from Azerbaijan, U.S. LNG, or elsewhere –- to enter a market that for far too long has depended on a single supplier”, he said.
In addition to Greece’s future role as a gas hub, Greece also holds significant upstream potential. “And American companies are certainly taking notice of that”, Pyatt said.
These projects will put greater power in the hands of consumers and dilute the influence of suppliers that have for too long used energy as a tool of political coercion.
Russian inflouence warning
In that context the US ambassador warned about the destabilizing effects of Russian interference in the Balkans.
Citing Vice President Pence, the US Ambassador stressed that “Russia has worked to destabilize the region, undermine your democracies, and divide you from each other and the rest of Europe. Russia’s intentions were laid bare over the past year when Moscow-backed agents sought to disrupt Montenegro’s elections, attack your parliament and even attempt to assassinate your Prime Minister to dissuade the Montenegrin people from entering our NATO Alliance.
“Many of Russia’s malign tactics are familiar — disinformation, interference in democratic processes, attempts to undermine democratic institutions. We’ve seen Russia deploy these tactics in Ukraine, throughout Western Europe, and in the United States. But one of the most powerful arrows in Russia’s malign influence quiver is its dominance in Europe’s gas markets.
“As President Trump made clear when he visited Poland earlier this year, the United States will never use energy to coerce your nations, and we cannot allow others to do so.
“Greece has the potential to be a crucial partner in helping us to achieve this goal for all of Europe”, Ambassador Pyatt said.