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28/09/2016

Putin and Erdogan to discuss TurkStream this autumn

Energy

Putin and Erdogan to discuss TurkStream this autumn

Turkish Stream route, from Russia to European Turkey. [Gazprom]

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan this autumn and the two will discuss the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday (31 July). 

Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow told RIA news agency separately on Friday that talks on the pipeline that would carry Russian gas to Europe via Turkey were ongoing.

That came after Turkish officials told Reuters on Thursday the talks had been suspended after Moscow failed to sign off on a key gas price discount agreement. 

TurkStream is a replacement project for South Stream, which had envisaged piping Russian gas through the Black Sea to Bulgaria but was quashed by Russia. South Stream was suspended at the end of last year following tensions between the US, European Union and Russia over Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

TurkStream envisages a carrying capacity of 63 billion cubic metres of gas per annum, the same as South Stream would have had.

Moscow wants to bypass Ukraine in its shipments of gas to Europe due to a succession of pricing rows.

Russian Gazprom plans switching flows to Turkey by laying pipes beneath the Black Sea. In fact, Gazprom has plans for the continuation of the pipeline via the territories of Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary has been given the provisional name of Tesla.

>Read: Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary discuss ‘Turkish Stream’

However, Greece, Serbia and other countries are reportedly under US pressure to abandon such plans.

>> Read: US discourages Greece from Turkish Stream

Last month (19 June), Russia and Greece signed a deal for a section of the Turkish Stream pipeline across Greece, and Gazprom announced plans to build two additional stretches to the Nord Stream gas pipeline. But the Commission said more Russian gas was not needed, and that it would thoroughly scrutinise the new projects for compliance with EU rules.

The deal was signed between Russia and Greece’s energy ministers, Alexander Novak, and Panagiotis Lafazanis, for a pipeline with a capacity of 47 billion cubic meters a year (bcm/y).

Construction of the Greek section of the Turkish Stream pipeline will start in 2016 and be completed by 2019. 

>> Read: Tsipras: ‘Turkish Stream’ will have another name on Greek territory

Background

Facing objections from the European Union, in December Russia abandoned its $40 billion South Stream project. It would have extended under the Black Sea to Bulgaria, and carry up to 63 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas annually to Europe.

Instead, Russian gas exporter Gazprom said in January it planned to build an undersea gas pipeline with the same capacity to an as-yet unbuilt hub on the Turkish-Greek border by the end of 2016.

The EU is sceptical as to the chances of this project and officials in Ankara said that its timeframe was unrealistic.

>> Read: Šef?ovi?: Turkish Stream ‘will not work’

>> Read: Political concerns mar Turkish Stream project