Pavel Zavalny: "Turkish Stream is economically beneficial project"
On February 1 Russia's Federation Council will vote on the ratification of the Turkish Stream project agreement. The intergovernmental agreement on the project was signed by Moscow and Ankara in the middle of last autumn. The document envisages the construction of two lines of gas pipeline with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters under the Black Sea. One line will supply gas to the Turkish market, the other to Europe. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed the ratification agreement, approved by Turkish parliament in early December; Russian State Duma ratified the agreement on January 20. Head of the Energy Committee of the State Duma Pavel Zavalny discussed the prospects of this project in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- What are the benefits of Turkish Stream project?
- I work in gas industry, I worked there my whole, so I assess the Turkish Stream positively. Turkey consumes about 40 billion cubic meters of gas per year, 26 billion of which supplied by Russia (60%). Europe gets about 30% of Russian gas, but they believe that it's too much, that Russia's share in European gas energy balance is too big. 16 billion cubic meters of gas are supplied to Turkey through Blue Stream pipeline, 12 billion are supplied through Ukraine and Bulgaria. So the task of the first line of Turkish Stream is to ensure direct gas supplies to Turkey, bypassing Ukraine and Bulgaria, which will allow us to get rid of all the risks. This is economically beneficial, because the cost of gas transportation is lower compared to transporting through transit countries. But most important things are safety and security of our supplies, prospects of increasing our market share, because Turkish economy is developing.
- The second line will depend on Europe's interest in Russian gas and will be built only after we receive guarantees from it. Do you think it will be built?
- This phase may begin after our European customers connect to the first line. This is a gas that may be supplied through TAP pipeline, which is currently under construction. Gas can be supplied by reverse. If 12 billion cubic meters of gas were previously supplied through Bulgaria to Turkey, it's now possible to supply gas through Turkey to Bulgaria. This can be done in case gas transit through Ukraine will be impossible after 2019. No one can predict what will happen to our relations with Ukraine in a year. So the construction of Turkish Stream's second line will help to supply gas to Bulgaria, Romania and other countries of South-Eastern and Central Europe. South-Eastern Europe countries are very dependent on Russian gas, because they have no other gas sources. So we plan to fulfill our contractual obligations bypassing Ukraine. Both lines of Turkish Stream have clear economic benefits and so on.