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The 'Pipeline Diplomacy': The Greek Case in the East-Mediterranean Energy Corridors

Maria Kottari

Due to its strategic location, the eastern Mediterranean area represents the main route for energy supplies to Western markets, through terrestrial pipelines and maritime transport. Insuring the flow of key hydrocarbon resources is of profound importance for both regional political and economic stability.The eastern Mediterranean countries play an 'intermediate' role that maximizes both their geopolitical importance and economic profit. Especially given the heightening energy demands in the EU, the role of these countries is becoming even more central in broader energy security issues. This paper will analyze the role that Greece intends to play in the above described energy scene. Greece is principally a transit country: very significant gas and oil pipelines will cross its terrestrial and maritime territory. Simultaneously, Greek hydrocarbons production does not cover the state's needs, connecting inevitably Greece to the EU's strategic plans for secure energy supply and transport. Furthermore, given the economic features of the state, EU's contribution is demanding for the creation of a favorable and stable climate for energy investments including infrastructures and transport networks. Finally, considering the existing Greek-Turkish conflicts and the role of Turkey as energy hub in the wider area, this paper will speculate whether energy policies give new opportunities for a cooperation era or infuse new dimensions to the existing conflicts.

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