Thessaloniki-Skopje oil pipeline inaugurated
The new 214-km-long Thessaloniki-Skopje oil pipeline, 70 km of which pass through Greek territory, was inaugurated
with two parallel ceremonies at the OKTA refineries in Skopje, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM),
and in Kalohori in Thessaloniki on July 2.
In Thessaloniki, the project was jointly inaugurated by FYROM Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski and Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos. Georgievski said of the project that "a great dream has come true”, adding that the construction of the pipeline is only the beginning of a wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries. "A cooperation which is unbreakable from now on," he stressed.
Tsochadzopoulos also hailed the completion of the project and referred to the two new pipelines for the transportation of ready products being planned by the OKTA refineries. One pipeline will extend from Skopje into Kosovo and the other to south-eastern Serbia.
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Mangriotis represented the Greek government at the inauguration in Skopje, saying the
project constitutes a very important Greek investment in FYROM and is proof of the close cooperation developed
between the two countries in recent years. "It is known that Greece has always and continues, of course, to adhere to
stability and to the development of our region and your country,” Mangriotis said.
He expressed the hope the project will signal the implementation of several similar projects which will consolidate and strengthen bilateral cooperation for the benefit of citizens. On the part of FYROM's government, the inauguration ceremony in Skopje was attended by Transport and Communications Minister Lube Balkovski, Education Minister Nenant Novkovski and Health Minister Georgi Orofcanec.
The project cost $ 110 mm and has an annual crude-oil carrying capacity of 2.5 mm tons. The state-controlled Greek
Petroleum company ELPE Balkaniki controls 80 % of the pipeline and the state of FYROM the remaining 20 %.
Construction of the project began in 1999 and it officially began operating on July 2. The pipeline links the OKTA oil refineries, in which ELPE is the majority shareholder, with ELPE's Thessaloniki installations.