The gas ring closes: Russia and Turkey launched a new gas pipeline
To know the latest news about closing the gas cycle, we recommend that you read this article.
Moscow and Ankara launch the Turkish Stream, a new gas pipeline of two strands with a total capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters per year, laid along the bottom of the Black Sea. One of the pipes is intended for Turkey itself, and the rest of the fuel will go to the countries of Southern and Southeast Europe – there a whole line has already been lined up for Russian gas.
Well forgotten old times:
They were planning to lay such a pipeline between Russia and Bulgaria – the start of the construction of the South Stream was planned for 2014. However, the European Parliament, amid political disagreements about the Crimea, forced Sofia to stop the project, although part of the pipes had already been manufactured and lay in Varna.
Vladimir Putin called the position of the European Commission unconstructive and put an end to this story. “If Europe does not want to implement the project, then it will not be implemented,” the Russian president said at a press conference in Ankara. At the same time, Gazprom and the Turkish Botas Petroleum Pipeline Corporation signed a memorandum on a gas pipeline to Turkey. And Ankara was not disappointed.
The construction of the Turkish Stream began in 2017. The total length of the pipeline from Anapa to Luleburgaz is 1,100 kilometers. The new route for the supply of Russian fuel was so in demand that the contractor – the Swiss Allseas – set a world record for the speed of pipe laying under water: more than six kilometers a day.
In 2018, Turkey took second place in the import of Russian gas among non-CIS countries, purchasing 24 billion cubic meters (only Germany acquires more – 58.5 billion).
It is important that half of the gas flowing through the Turkish Stream will be re-exported to Europe by Ankara. For Turkey, this will be another way to strengthen its position in relations with the European Union.
Despite the Sofia fiasco of six years ago, many European countries support the extension of the Turkish Stream. First of all, Serbia and Hungary, who consider it necessary to diversify the supply of fuel for their needs. Bulgaria expressed a desire to participate in the project.
Roll up your sleeves:
Serbia has almost completed its section of the Turkish Stream. According to one of the leaders of IDC general contractor Eugene Ulrich, 400 kilometers of the gas pipeline were laid in six months, adding six kilometers daily.
In December, Vladimir Putin agreed with President Alexander Vučić that underground storage facilities in Serbia would increase from the current 750 million to two billion cubic meters.
Hungary also hopes to soon join the Turkish Stream. This was announced by Prime Minister Viktor Orban at a meeting with Vladimir Putin at the end of October last year. The Russian president replied that Moscow only welcomes this.
But again, Bulgaria took an ambiguous position. Although the government of the country formally agreed to lay the pipeline, in early December Vladimir Putin announced that Sofia was deliberately delaying the construction, most likely under pressure from outside.
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov hastened to assure: the work is in full swing, five kilometers a day, and by the end of 2020 the gas pipeline will be ready. And the head of Bulgartransgaz, Vladimir Malinov, said that in late November, Ankara brewed a “golden seam”, connecting the Bulgarian part with the “Turkish Stream”.
Experts regarding the explanations of the Bulgarian prime minister were divided into two camps: some believe that the politician is disingenuous, the second – that he has a bad math. After all, if you work at the speed that Borisov called (five kilometers a day), the Bulgarian section can be completed as early as February.
“If this is a deliberate delay in construction, then it’s like a shot in the foot. This is a project that is beneficial to absolutely everyone. It seems to me that, like with Nord Stream 2, this is a decided story. Nord Stream 2 in which “That moment was paused because Denmark hesitated, but in the end everything was agreed. I think Bulgaria can be compared by its fluctuations with Denmark. I don’t see anything bad,” said Stanislav Byshok, executive director of the CIS-EMO international monitoring organization, on air Radio Sputnik.
However, Sofia took care of her interests by connecting the Turkish Stream with the Balkan Stream gas pipeline, which runs on Bulgarian territory. Thus, Bulgaria will now receive Russian gas through Turkey.
Moreover, Bultransgaz launched transit from the Turkish Stream to Greece and Northern Macedonia. This opens up room for Gazprom to maneuver. Indeed, at the end of 2018, Vladimir Putin and the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras discussed the possibility of sending the second string of the Turkish Stream through Greece. So Sofia’s attempts to delay the construction of the pipe to Serbia will only harm herself.