Russia offers energy pipelines to Greece - a very expensive lifeline, skeptics say

By MoneyTimes

Jul 15, 2015 08:34 AM EDT

Russia's offer to support Greece wouldn't be a surprise considering the close ties between these two countries. However, some experts have an interesting view of the impending scenario.

Russia's close cultural and political relationship with Greece boosts the country's hopes in reviving its economy.  Currently, 99% of Greece energy needs are imported while 60% of its natural gas is supplied by Russia. A  recently reported $2.3 billion deal between the two will build a natural gas pipeline that could directly import energy resources to Greece and Western Europe by 2019. Transmission fees are also expected to generate added income to Greece.  According to reports, the deal may begin in less than a month.

Sputnik, a Russian state run news portal, reports that the country's energy minister Alexander Novak announced an agreement with Greece that may begin negotiations within the coming weeks. "The Russian Federation plans to support the renewal of the Greek economy by expanding its cooperation in the energy sector"' Novak said. It further explained that the deal will entail organizing direct deliveries of energy to the Greek government in the near future.  

This deal sounds in favor of Greece but a few observers are skeptic with the end result.

In an interview with CNBC, the director of the Center for Russia and Eurasia in Rand Corp, Olga Oliker shared her views with Greece's situation in relation to Russia's offer.  Oliker said that "Identifying and exacerbating tensions within the European Union and especially NATO fits well with Russia's narrative that the existing order in Europe is not beneficial or sustainable." 

She also adds that Russia wants to use Greece as part of the standoff with Western powers.

"Russia wants to use Greece as part of the standoff with Western powers," 

Greece is inarguably in a tough situation and its voluntary and involuntary allies while in the eurozone wants to help save the country. It may have an option or two for temporary relief but apparently, its sustainability and long-term effects also need careful consideration. 

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