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Monday, March 19, 2018

Turkey and Bulgaria joined the struggle for Russian gas

The two most important project of Russia, which until recently seemed almost buried – the gas pipeline “South stream” or the “Turkish stream” – unexpectedly proved to be extremely popular. The European Union suddenly changed its position on this issue, and Bulgaria with Turkey joined the fight for the right to transport billions of cubic meters of Russian gas.

Bulgaria and Turkey almost simultaneously announced his desire to revive the projects of the Russian pipeline South stream and “Turkish stream” respectively.

“For us, well, there are plenty to choose from. This motivates our partners to seek mutually acceptable solutions”

“Bulgaria and Russia have agreed to create working groups on restoration of the Russian energy projects, including the construction of gas pipeline “South stream”, – quotes Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov Bloomberg. Rumors that Bulgaria is ready to revive the “South stream” has appeared regularly. However, the Bulgarian Prime Minister for the first time personally made a resumption of the project.

Interestingly, immediately after this statement, intensified, and Turkey. More recently, it was claimed that prior to the resumption of the project “Turkish stream”, they say, very far. But on Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hastened to declare, without waiting for his visit to Russia on Tuesday that Ankara is “ready to immediately take the necessary steps to implement the project “Turkish stream”, to discuss it and make a decision. “Any obstacles this is not” – quoted Erdogan TASS.

Russia did not refuse neither from one nor from the other pipe, as mentioned in June, Vladimir Putin. The main thing – the presence of a clear position of the European Union.

“For Bulgaria, this is the last chance to remain a transit country for gas on the background of resuscitation relations of Russia and Turkey. They have several months engaged in secret talks on the resumption of the “South stream”, not so much with us, but with the Europeans and the EC, with Germany, the same was meetings”, – says the newspaper VIEW Deputy Director of the national energy security Fund Alexei Grivach.

Bulgarians, apparently, got the green light from Brussels, and Turkey was afraid she would miss her.

On Friday, August 5, a telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Bulgarian leader. The press service of the Bulgarian Prime Minister said that the conversation took place the next day after Boyko Borisov received a response from the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker delivered by the Bulgarian government issues relating to the implementation of various energy projects, such as a gas distribution centre “Balkan”, “South stream and the Burgas – Alexandropoulis” nuclear energy”.

In his letter, the head of the European Commission made clear that the Brussels leaves for Sofia right to determine the direction of energy development. According to Juncker, the EC supports the “important steps in the direction of the gas hub concept “Balkan”, on which the European Commission continues to work hard and to which could connect new gas supplies from Russia, in a way that will fully conform to the rules of the European Union”.

In the meeting of Prime Minister of Bulgaria has informed Vladimir Putin that “at the present time in the ports of Burgas and Varna are stored pipe intended for the construction of the project “South stream”.

Two in one

“For us, well, there are plenty to choose from. It disciplinarum and motivates our partners to seek mutually acceptable solutions”, – says Alexei Grivach.

However, in his opinion, the optimal for Russia option would be not to choose one of two pipeline projects, and to unite two pipes. “Theoretically, ideally one thread in Bulgaria and one thread in Turkey is a good solution for everyone”, – says Alexey Grivach. First, both pipes go along the bottom of the Black sea, and then with the jumpers in different directions.

First, the black sea pipe was assumed in the four strings with a total capacity of 64 billion cubic meters a year. When work began on the Nord stream – 2″, the southern pipeline was reduced to two lines. The throughput of one thread of the pipe is about 16 billion cubic meters, the total is 32 billion cubic meters per year. This amount is sufficient to cover current and future demand for Russian gas in South-Eastern Europe and Turkey.

Explains Grivach, thread in Turkey will be sharpened basically to cover the gas demand of Turkey, which is now across the Ukraine and Bulgaria is 12-14 billion cubic meters of Russian gas per year. The remaining gas can be supplied to neighbouring country, or in the future to cover the additional demand for gas from Turkey.

The thread in Bulgaria solves two problems at once. First, Bulgaria has continued to receive 3 billion cubic meters of Russian gas, and transit fees for pumping fuel on to Europe. “The EU will be able to get gas directly from Russia without having to deal with a transit – be it Ukrainian or Turkish,” says Grivach. Thirdly, the thread in Bulgaria will help to develop gas infrastructure in this region that fits well with the concept of Brussels to create a single gas market.

Europe already has a project pipeline of “Poseidon” with a capacity of 16 billion cubic meters. Its shareholders are the Greek company DEPA and Italian Edison. It passes, respectively, through Greece to southern Italy. Moreover, the plan provided the third country through which will lay the pipeline from the Black sea to Greece.

“Project “Poseidon” meets all EU rules need exceptions, its shareholders are European. This project is fully ready, he is not only the source gas. And it could easily be adapted for transporting Russian gas to Greece and Italy,” – says Grivach.

It remains only to understand through which country – Bulgaria or Turkey – will Russian gas in the “Poseidon” from the Black sea (Anapa, Russian). For that Sofia and Ankara now and will fight that, of course, into the hands of Moscow. If “Poseidon” will go through Bulgaria, Ankara will get one string of pipe for their own use, if using the Turkey is out of work will be Sophia.

“In my opinion, to arrange the transit of gas to EU through Turkish territory from a political point of view is quite difficult. Because Europe the idea of getting Russian gas via Turkey not like” – says Grivach. The EU wants to strengthen the energy of the might of the shrew of Turkey, through which already will go to Azerbaijani gas (TANAP). Actually, that’s probably why the EC unexpectedly gave the go-ahead for Bulgaria’s energy project. Bulgaria has now acquired a political chance to return to the project “South stream”.

Double standards

Legal reason for Brussels to close the “South stream” at this time will not. In December 2014, Russia had to abandon the project due to the unconstructive position of the European Commission. It is, in fact, forbidden Gazprom to build a gas pipeline across the European territory, as the Russian company at the same time is both a supplier and a Transporter of gas that does not fit the norms of the Third energy package of the EC. Although the exit from Brussels was. The TAP gas pipeline to pump Azerbaijani gas, for example, allowed everything that is forbidden by Gazprom.

Another example of double standards: the EC has allowed Azerbaijan’s SOCAR to complete fully TAP its own gas. Although the European energy norms must be assured competitive access to the pipeline in the European territory for any gas supplier. With a pipe TAP was supposed to do under the law is exactly the same as with OPAL (continuation of the “Nord stream” in the European territory). Gazprom was allowed to pump gas at the OPAL only 50% of the capacity of the pipe. The rest of the half pipe left for a different provider, as required by the rules of the Third energy package. The EC has solved this problem for TAP, issuing an exception to the rules of the Third energy package. Gazprom, no matter how asked, such concessions are not received.

Now talk about the construction of the Gazprom pipes for the European territory is not. “South stream” if you will, but only in a truncated version. Gazprom is laying down a pipe only to Bulgaria, and distribution of gas further to Greece, Italy, the Balkans is a matter of Europe itself. Thus, the European Commission has no legal reason to hurt the project. Exactly the same situation with the “Turkish stream”.

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