Serbia launches construction of Turkish stream
Serbia has started the construction of the part of the Turkish Stream pipeline on its territory before the Bulgarian part is completed, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said at a press conference following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.
"I'm not waiting for Bulgaria to complete its part. We have already started the construction of the Serbian part of the Turkish Stream pipeline," he stressed.
At the same time, the Serbian Foreign Minister expressed hope that the construction of Turkish Stream pipeline on the country's territory will be completed by year-end.
In turn, Sergey Lavrov said that prospects for extending the Turkish Stream in the European direction, including to Serbia, were discussed at the meeting with his Serbian counterpart.
Deputy director of energy policy of the Institute of Energy and Finances, Alexey Belogoriev, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Serbia plans to complete its part of the Turkish Stream by December 15. "This pipe almost completely coincides with the Serbian section of the South Stream route - it passes from the Bulgarian-Serbian border to the Serbian-Hungarian border. This is no problem as the construction of the national parts of the pipeline doesn't require permission from the European Commission even within the EU," he said.
"It is important that Gazprom undertook to use the gas transmission systems of Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary for the Turkish Stream, that is, all investments are made on the basis of its applications. Bulgaria has bids not only from Gazprom, and yet the Turkish Stream is being constructed in Turkey, Bulgaria and Serbia. It is also necessary to build a large section in Hungary (the decision from the Hungarian operator has not yet received), very small sections in Slovakia and, possibly, in Austria. The Bulgarian and Serbian sections are scheduled to be launched in 2020, with up to 6 billion cubic meters per year for their own needs. Starting from 2021, it is planned to start supplies to Hungary, up to Austria, of about 10.5 billion cubic meters per year. So far, it's within the planned schedule and the risks are minimal," Alexey Belogoryev stressed.
"Thus, the future of the European part of the Turkish Stream is already defined. A fundamental breakthrough was made at the end of last year, when they managed to agree with Bulgaria on the construction of its section, and it was clear that the European Commission had no influence on this construction. But there is another problem: all these gas pipelines, with the exception of the Serbian part, are subject to the Third Energy Package rules. Gazprom, as an operator company, will be guaranteed only 50% of the pipeline's capacity, and other 50% will be distributed on the basis of the auction, of which 10% only on the basis of short-term supply contracts. Either Gazprom will resell gas to other companies, or, if there's no alternative, it will be able to claim free capacity," the deputy director of energy policy of the Institute of Energy and Finances concluded.