Gas packing of Turkish Stream's first line starts
Gas packing of the first line of the Turkish Stream pipeline has started, the last testing stage before the launch, South Stream Transport, the operator of the project said in a statement.
"Natural gas packing of the first out of two lines of the sea part of the Turkish Stream pipeline has started. This is the last stage of tests before launch of the pipeline," the Prime news agency cited the company as saying.
The Turkish Stream pipeline was designed to consist of two branches with a length of over 900 kilometers and a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters each. One of them, finished in May 2018, is to carry Russian gas to Turkey, while the other is to transit gas to southern and southeastern Europe through Turkey and is to be finished in 2019.
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 is being implemented as planned. "It is planned that gas deliveries via the Turkish Stream will start from January 1, and work is underway according to this date. It was possible to start deliveries earlier, but there was no need for haste. In general, everything is ready for the first line to be launched at the designed capacity," he stressed.
The price of gas will be a market price. "Of course, the specific price is a trade secret, it can be estimated after the first deliveries according to customs statistics. But lately there has been no news of price conflicts, so it will be a market price. Gazprom is the largest gas supplier to the Turkish market, it has long-term contacts with both the state-owned Botas company and private companies," Igor Yushkov recalled.
Deliveries to Turkey for some time will be at the same level. "In 2019, prices fell in Asia, so that is why liquefied natural gas came to Europe and began to compete with Russian pipeline deliveries, and maybe we will reduce our supply to Europe and Turkey in 2019. But in 2020, probably, everything can already return to normal, all LNG will go to Asia, and our gas supplies to Turkey will reach the standard level," Igor Yushkov concluded.
Deputy director of energy policy of the Institute of Energy and Finances, Alexey Belogoriev, in turn, noted that in the future, Turkey could expand the purchase of Russian gas. "Turkey has the potential to significantly increase gas demand. In general, Turkey is seen as the most promising market in Europe, where significant growth can still be expected. At the same time, Ankara proclaims a diversification policy and is unlikely to want to increase its Russian share, which already exceeds 50%," he drew attention.
"Given the seasonality of Turkey's gas imports, the capacity of the Turkish Stream and the Blue Stream will be enough only to ensure current supplies. In order to increase these deliveries, it will be necessary to connect the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline, which begins in Ukraine and which Gazprom refuses to use," Alexey Belogoryev added.