MOSCOW – The European Union and Russia will have to discuss the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, as well as additional volumes of gas deliveries, Gazprom Deputy Chairman Alexander Medvedev said on June 9.
The Turkish Stream project, designed to deliver Russian gas to Europe via the Black Sea and Turkey, was first announced in December 2014 after Moscow abandoned its South Stream project, citing EU obstacles. South Stream would have run via the Black Sea to Bulgaria.
Sass Consulting Director Sebastian Sass, who formerly worked for Russia-EU pipeline projects Nord Stream and South Stream, told New Europe in Moscow that he thinks the new pipeline would comply with EU rules. “I would assume that everybody involved there is prepared to comply with the particular regulation. I don’t know whether there have been so far any announcements of interest to pick up the gas from Turkey into the EU but obviously from the EU border onwards EU regulation would apply but I don’t see that would stand in the way of this project. If there is demand, if there is willingness to invest then I’m sure you can build it in compliance with EU regulation,” Sass said.
Currently, Russian gas deliveries amount to about one-third of the total European consumption. Last month, a Gazprom executive manager said Russia would begin laying gas pipelines in the Black Sea for the Turkish Stream.
The pipeline will have an estimated capacity of 63 billion cubic metres.
Sass said there is a market for extending the new Russian-backed Turkish Stream pipeline via Greek Stream to Europe. “Energy demand will pick up and even if you have increased efforts to increase energy efficiency once the economy development picks up again there will be this demand. In the Balkans, especially Western Balkans for a long time there has been a shortage of electricity generation and to an extent at some point that can be an obstacle for the economic development,” he said.
“Those economies have a long way to catch up. Over the last 15-20 years some of the countries in the area have had relatively high growth rates so that would point to increased need in electricity. It makes sense to produce electricity obviously with rather lower than higher carbon output and these are factors which generally don’t speak against gas, it depends what else is on offer. And if you look at these basic factors I believe yes there is demand at least for a certain level for new gas,” the director of Sass Consulting said.
Asked if Turkish Stream would compete with the EU’s Southern Gas Corridor, Sass reminded that the whole EU Third Energy Package is largely about enforcing commercial competition on the market. “If there is more competition on the market I guess that’s what the whole energy policy was largely about and at the end it should benefit the consumer,” he said.
Asked if the recent Turkish elections result will affect Turkish Stream, Sass said he doesn’t see that the Turkish interests and priorities in energy policy would have changed due to the elections. But it is still too early to assess the policy of the post-election government, he added.
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