Europe to treat itself to Turkish Stream on New Year's day

Europe to treat itself to Turkish Stream on New Year's day

Bulgaria is ready to ensure transit gas supplies to Greece and North Macedonia from the Turkish Stream pipeline starting January 1, 2020 chief executive of state gas network operator Bulgartransgaz Vladimir Malinov said.

"Even if Russia’s gas transit via Ukraine to Bulgaria via the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline is suspended starting the beginning of the year we are prepared," he noted.

The head of the gas network operator recalled that on November 30, Turkey made a ‘golden’ weld joint connecting Turkish Stream to Balkan Stream. 

As early as this week Bulgartransgaz will start filling the 11-kilometer section of the gas pipe on its territory with gas, while Turkey — the 140-kilometer sector. We will be ready by December 15, and they, hopefully, by December 20," TASS cited Malinov as saying.

He also said that the construction of pipelines to the Serbian border on the 308-kilometer section of the Balkan Stream gas pipeline will be completed by May 31. After that daily supplies through the gas pipeline would amount to 8.75 mln cubic meters. Before that, gas will be delivered via the Bulgarian territory through the existing gas transport system.

A leading analyst of the National Energy Security Fund, a lecturer at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Igor Yushkov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the Turkish Stream will not go further than Bulgaria until the end of spring. "Bulgaria will be ready to receive gas through the Turkish Stream, but the problem is that this gas cannot reach Serbia yet. Bulgaria has slowed down the construction of the link to Serbia due to tender checks. As a result, the construction has started only in the autumn," he said.

"As a result,the Turkish Stream will not be able to export gas further than Bulgaria until the end of 2020. In any case, they supplied themselves with gas thanks to the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline. Until now, this pipeline was used to transport Russian gas via Ukraine, Moldova and Romania to Bulgaria and the European part of Turkey. Now, when the first leg of the Turkish Stream can fully supply Turkey with gas, this pipeline of the Bulgaria-Turkey section will be empty, which means that Sofia can be use it to receive gas from Turkish territory. In general, Bulgaria can receive our gas in transit through Turkey, but Gazprom and Europe hoped that Bulgaria could link the gas pipeline to Serbia, which would finish their work on the project by January 1," Igor Yushkov drew attention.

The executive vice-president of NewTech Services, professor of the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas, Valery Bessel, in turn, assured that no problems are expected with the Turkish Stream in the long run. "Europe cannot develop without our gas. Over the past 10 years, gas reserves in Europe have declined by 40%, and they can safely buy it only in Russia. Whatever information attacks are organized, Europe will continue to buy our gas. The fact is that selling or reselling hydrocarbon resources is one of the most profitable businesses today," he said.

The Turkish Stream project envisages the construction of a gas pipeline across the Black Sea to the European part of Turkey and farther to the border with Greece. Gas deliveries via the first stretch of the gas pipeline are meant to meet the requirements of the growing Turkish market, while the second stretch is planned to deliver gas to the countries of Southern and South-Eastern Europe. Gazprom considers Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary potential markets. The capacity of each line is 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas per year.