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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Resuscitation of the project “Turkish stream” EU worries

EU officials expressed dissatisfaction with the news of the resumption of negotiations between Moscow and Ankara on the gas pipeline “Turkish stream”. The agreement, which fell due to the sharp deterioration in Russian-Turkish relations, is now suggesting the development of the project, very different from the former, and beneficial to Europe. What, in this case, can be caused by a negative reaction of European officials?

The EU leadership is concerned about the resumption of negotiations on the project of gas pipeline “Turkish stream”.

“Turkey really wants to get the transit status. But I do not understand why we have to provide it”

So, a senior EU official fears that Russia is using “Turkish stream”, first, will reduce Ukraine’s role as gas transit country, and secondly, will make it unprofitable to alternative fuel supplies from the Caspian region. Thus, Europe’s dependence on Gazprom will increase.

“It makes sense for Turkey, since it would get cheap gas from Russia, but for us it will be a problem,” said the official, who was quoted by Reuters.

When interviewed by Western media experts are trying to reassure European officials, claiming that the renewed Russian-Turkish Alliance is fragile, especially against the background of turmoil after a coup attempt in Turkey. “In times of uncertainty, if you are sane, you will not start a large-scale infrastructure projects,” said Simon Taliapietra, expert from the Brussels analytical center “Bruegel”. Moscow and Ankara, in his opinion, are now more interested in political declarations than in actual implementation of projects, reported Business Insider.

“Turkey is interested in the gas flowing directly”

On 7 June the President of Russia Vladimir Putin said that Moscow did not refuse finally no project “Turkish stream or South stream”, both need a clear position of the European Union. We will remind, the agreement on the construction of a gas pipeline from Russia to Europe under the project “Turkish stream” was reached between Moscow and Ankara in December 2014. However, the negotiations ceased after November 2015, the Turkish fighter jet shot down in Syria, the Russian bomber su-24 and the relations between the countries deteriorated.

Last week Ankara was ready to start construction of the first line of Turkish stream. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek and economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci arrived in the Russian capital with the government delegation to discuss future plans. At the same time, Moscow and Ankara agreed to establish a working group on “Turkish stream”.

Finally, on July 29 the Minister of energy Alexander Novak said that Russia and Turkey are discussing construction of two lines (branches) of the gas pipeline “Turkish stream”. “Turkey is interested in the gas flowing directly, bypassing other transit countries, and within that in the “Turkish stream” provides one line-at least for Turkish consumers. Line – 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas”, – he explained.

Novak added that the question of the construction of two threads. The second line is for European consumers, South-Western consumers of the European countries, which can also be laid under the Black sea through the territory of Turkey”.

“This is completely different projects

“Initially, “Turkish stream” was planned to build in four threads, two threads have already moved North, began to be called Nord stream-2″. They will go to Italy, while earlier it was planned that gas to Italy will go through Turkey,” he recalled in an interview with the newspaper look Director of the national energy security Fund Konstantin Simonov.

The world’s largest consumers and exporters as well as countries possessing the largest inventories of Gazexport explained that negotiations are underway on two sections of the “Turkish stream.” However, the most efficient would be the idea of building a “Turkish South stream”: that is, one thread to be held in Turkey for the Turkish market and the second to build to Bulgaria and further to Greece.

“In this case, we do not make Turkey a transit party. Bulgaria needs EU approval, but it can be obtained, because the project is not as ambitious and quite falls under the EU rules,” – said the expert.

“Turkey, of course, really wants to get the transit status. But I do not understand why we have to provide it”, – said Simonov, noting that this issue will be one of the key at the meeting of Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan on August 9.

Simon added that the attempted coup in Turkey will not cause braking of the negotiations. “Right now the parties are engaged in talks on Turkish stream. Relations revived,” – said the source. You can argue on the subject, not too fast, we reanimated them, but the main thing – “Turkey must be careful not to give transit status,” – said the expert.

Since Turkey has already lost two lines, “today’s “Turkish stream” is seriously different from what was announced in the fall of 2014. This is absolutely different projects. Special risks I do not see” – said Simonov.

The EU will have to decide

As for the Europeans, their concern is “weird: the only reason why the EU can be against the “Turkish stream” or “South flow” that the EU wants to keep the transit status of Ukraine”, – said the expert.

For the EU, Ukraine is a country that needs support, and at least some transit save. But “in our understanding of Ukraine is a source of risk for the European Union”, – said the Agency interlocutor. – The EU needs to decide what it is Ukraine”.

“Turkish South stream” is fully consistent: the philosophy of the EU on the expansion of infrastructure at the entrance to the European Union, all regulations of the EU Third energy package (adopted in 2009 six EU legislation restricting vertically integrated companies in the ownership and management of energy transportation networks from outside – approx. OPINION). From a formal point of view, no complaints about a “Turkish” nor “South Turkish stream” the EU should not be”, – concluded the expert.

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