Russia has no plans to build Turkish Stream blindly
Russia has no plans to begin construction of the second line of the Turkish stream in Europe without any guarantee and approval from the European Commission.
"Of course, no one will build it blindly, because it is associated with certain losses. And now no one can afford to depend on some kind of whim and risky politicized decisions," the Russian Foreign Ministry's Fourth European Department Director, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, said.
The position of the European Commission is essential in this regard, the diplomat noted.
"We have the Turkish Stream project, which passed all approval procedures, and the parties have already begun its implementation. This is the part, which is directly related to Turkey, and there is another one, which has a prospect of uninterrupted gas supply, which is necessary for South and the rest of Europe," Interfax cited Botan-Kharchenko as saying.
The diplomat stressed that the absence of a final decision on the second string of the Turkish stream also harms the Serbs, as with the South Stream, they had a very clear understanding of their energy future.
"The same can be said about a number of other countries in the region," the Russian Foreign Ministry's Fourth European Department Director added, noting that the resuscitation of the South Stream project is not planned, but a positive reversal of Bulgaria to Moscow will help the country to join the energy projects involving Russia.
Sberbank CIB analyst Valery Nesterov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the main problem for the construction of the European part of the Turkish stream is to consolidate the interests of potential importers in Southern Europe, because they would have to lay the gas infrastructure on their territory. "Firstly, this infrastructure is quite expensive, and secondly, their attention is constantly distracted by the governing bodies of the EU under the US pressure, which promotes the construction of interconnectors intended for LNG supply. The European Union has consistently pursued a policy to combat the Russian gas monopoly on the European market, as they claim, and Gazprom's intention to increase its presence in Europe does not fit into this strategy," he pointed out.
Southern Europe, seeking to diversify its supplies, can take its time to take a positive decision on the Turkish Stream. "The southern European countries' interest in the Turkish Stream, as well as to the South Stream, is being declined for several reasons. On the one hand, construction of the Southern Gas Corridor is progressing quite successfully. Gazprom is interested in filling the free capacity of the project by Russian gas. On the other hand, the potential gas exports from Israel and, in the long term, Cyprus, is increasing. Also there is growing potential of LNG, the first delivery of US liquefied natural gas to Turkey has already taken place," Valery Nesterov recalled.
In addition, Russia could supply gas to Italy through the other route. "Gas supplies by the Nord Stream-2 through Germany to southern Europe is an option. Gazprom is considering all the options, delivery of gas to a hub on the border with Greece by the second branch of the Turkish stream is only one of them, along with participation in competitive projects," the economist stressed.
And yet we should not expect any support for Russian projects from Brussels. "European officials have been worried about the growing supply of Russian gas to Europe for already several years, as now, some European countries are 100% dependent on Russian gas. Brussels aims to achieve a situation when each country has the option of choosing between three or four sources of gas supply. Of course, it does not mean that Gazprom will reduce its export: it has the opportunity to fight for the growing European market and increase supplies by an additional tens of billions of cubic meters per year due to a decline in gas production in Europe," Valery Nesterov concluded.