Russia interested in Turkish stream, but implementation unlikely

By Elena Kosolapova – Trend: Russia is still interested in Turkish Stream pipeline project, which envisages Russian gas supplies to Europe via Turkey, bypassing Ukraine, but it is unlikely that the project will be implemented, Amanda Paul, analyst at the European Policy Centre (EPC) and expert on Turkey believes.

The Turkish Stream project was suspended due to sharp deterioration of relations between Moscow and Ankara after the incident with downed Russian air bomber on the Turkish-Syrian border in November 2015.

On June 27 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to his Russian counterpart in which he expressed deep regret for the issue and expressed profound condolences to the family of the Russian pilot who was killed in the accident. Two days later the two leaders held the first phone conversation in six months and agreed on the resumption of trade and economic cooperation.

“Gazprom spokesperson, Sergey Kupriyanov, has said that Gazprom is “open for dialogue” on the Turkish Stream project. However given there were already big question marks over the viability of the pipeline before the crisis with Russia I am rather skeptical that Turkey will be desperately trying to relaunch the project,” Paul told Trend in an email on July 1.

She also noted that given the rather vulnerable situation that Ankara found itself in, in terms of its energy security, Turkey’s priority is likely to remain energy diversification – routes and sources in order that it can further reduce its dependence on Russian gas.

Turkish officials have repeatedly talked about the need to reduce energy dependence on Russia, which supplied 26.6 bcm of gas from 43.6 bcm of gas consumed in Turkey in 2015, according to BP.

“Furthermore, given the state of the Russian economy, I doubt the Kremlin has billions of dollars to throw at this project either,” the expert said.

Source: Trend