Will Turkish Stream to become Turkey-Serbia project?

Will Turkish Stream to become Turkey-Serbia project?

Turkey would like to see transferring natural gas from its Turkish Stream project to Serbia, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a joint press conference with Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic.

“We are supporting the issue of bringing natural gas to Serbia through the Turkish Stream pipeline, I don’t think Putin will object to this,” Reuters cited Erdogan as saying.

The director of the Center for Studies of World Energy Markets at the RAS Institute of Energy Research, Vyacheslav Kulagin, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that there have been no concrete agreements with any European country on the construction of the second thread of the Turkish Stream in Europe. "The Turkish Stream, in the current configuration, ends at Turkey's borders. It is assumed that the Turkish Stream's gas will flow to the territory of Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece, but it is still unknown under which projects. It is unlikely, that it will be the extension of the Turkish Stream, because, according to the EU's third energy package, the schemes for the construction of long pipelines no longer operate. But if the pipeline is built that way, it will be a different project," he said.

"Thus, it would be more correct to say that the gas transportation network will be developed from Turkey's borders to Europe in various directions. And these will be certain independent projects with gas going including from the Turkish Stream," Vyacheslav Kulagin noted.

"Russia can somehow participate in such projects, but these pipelines will not be Russian. There will be an independent operator who will ensure the transportation of this gas, and its customer can be either Gazprom or anyone else. Gas in these pipes can be not just Russian, but also, for example, Azerbaijani. There will be several different capacities that will be used by various players," the director of the Center for Studies of World Energy Markets at the RAS Institute of Energy Research concluded.

The executive vice-president of NewTech Services, professor of the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas, Valery Bessel, in turn, is confident in the implementation of the second thread of the Turkish Stream. "Turkey is interested in exporting Russian gas to as many European countries as possible. Selling gas is an incredibly profitable business, and it is very likely that the Turks can lay the second thread to Europe at their own expense, but then this money will be included in gas sale prices. It is clear that the gas distribution system is regulated by the Third Energy Package and Gazprom will not have the opportunity to be a distributor of low-pressure gas - so let the Turks or the Serbs distribute it. We will sell it on the borders, and they will sell it further," he explained.

The expert also expressed confidence that Serbia would become just one of many transit territories of the second thread of the Turkish Stream. "The pipe must necessarily approach a low-pressure gas distribution system. That is, the pipe will pass beyond Serbia to already existing, well-developed low-pressure gas distribution system in Europe," the professor of the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas summed up.

Gazprom has built about 300 km of the Black Sea gas pipeline Turkish Stream. One string of the Turkish Stream with capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas per year is intended for the Turkish market; the second one, of the same capacity, is for the market of Central and Southern Europe. 

The length of each string of the pipeline is over 900 km. The construction of the first string of the gas pipeline should be completed in March 2018, and the second - in 2019.

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