Turkish Stream to Europe to be completed before next year
Bulgaria plans to complete construction of the Balkan Stream - a branch of the TurkStream gas pipeline through Bulgaria to Serbia - before the end of 2020, President of the Bulgarian National Assembly Tsveta Karayancheva said at a meeting with Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.
"In accordance with European directives, we are beginning construction of a branch of the Turkish Stream. We are not evading the obligations that we have made to our citizens," she stressed, adding that in connection with this changes have been made to Bulgaria's energy strategy.
Karayancheva also recalled that Bulgaria was supposed to be the first point of the unrealized project of the South Stream gas pipeline. "We were forced to cease activities for the project’s implementation, as violations of the provisions of the third liberalization package were found," TASS cited the President of the Bulgarian National Assembly as saying.
The Turkish Stream pipeline was designed to consist of two branches with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters each. One of them is to carry Russian gas to Turkey, while the other is to transit gas to the European countries through Turkey.
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 Bulgaria, in fact, is delaying the construction of its part of the pipeline. "Of course, Sofia regrets that they lost the South Stream pipeline, because the project assumed pumping about 63 billion cubic meters a year through Bulgaria, and now they will receive a maximum of 15.75 billion cubic meters a year for transit," he noted in the first place.
"Now Gazprom is only submitting an application for the construction of a pipeline for pumping gas from the Turkish border through Bulgaria to Serbia, but has no right to participate in this project - the operator of the Bulgarian gas transmission system has to build it. And it turned out that Bulgaria is obliged to build this pipe for its own money. Another question is that the construction procedure is being delayed - Gazprom was supposed to receive a ready-made Bulgarian section by the end of 2019, but now it turns out that this is postponed for one year. It means that by January 1, 2020 Gazprom will not be able to load a second branch of Turkish stream by more than 3-3.5 billion cubic meters a year," the expert said.
Thus, the implementation of the European part of the Turkish Stream depends on the work of European companies. "Everything that depended on Gazprom, namely the offshore part of the Turkish Stream, has already been built and can be loaded at full capacity right now. I think that basically the entire European infrastructure will be completed in 2020. By 2021, there will be at least, the technical possibility of pumping gas up to Austria. All these sections will be built in parallel, with the exception that Serbia is not a member of the EU, so the pipeline there will be laid by Gazprom," Igor Yushkov concluded.