The prospects for implementing the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project have always been questionable. However, after the incident with the Russian warplane that has been recently shot down by the Turkish Air Force, all hopes for the project implementation came to naught.
Neither Turkey nor Russia is willing to discuss its implementation today. The Kremlin does not intend to comment on the prospects for the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project, the Russian media reported referring to Dmitry Peskov, the press-secretary of the Russian president.
Here two questions arise. Who will be more affected in case of non-implementation of this project? Who really needed it?
Initially, the Turkish Stream project was planned to replace the South Stream and the EU was seen as the end user of the Russian gas supplied via it.
But here the Turkish Stream faced with the same problems as its predecessor, namely the EU unwillingness to receive additional volumes of Russian natural gas. The excuse was the third energy package.
But more work was conducted for the South Stream project implementation at its time. The intergovernmental agreements were signed with a number of European countries to implement the onshore part of the project.
As for the Turkish Stream, Russia failed to reach any agreement on the construction of the European part of the gas pipeline. Later, Moscow chose the variant of supplying gas only to the Turkish market.
But problems have been here too. For a long time, Russia and Turkey have failed to settle differences concerning the gas price. Turkey says it will not buy Russian gas without any discount for it.
Apart from that, Ankara sees no need in additional Russian gas, moreover at the price offered by Moscow. And here Turkey is right. Less than three years later, Turkey will start receiving gas from the second development stage at the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field. The gas is to be transported by the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), which is already under construction.
Moreover, Turkey currently hasn’t got enough storage facilities for additional gas, and their construction is very expensive.
Disagreements over a gas price discount have always been considered as one of the main obstacles to implementation of the Turkish Stream. Both parties have been steadfast in this matter. But now it is even much difficult to imagine that any of them will agree to some concessions.
So, the implementation of the Turkish Stream project is postponed until better times.
But it is also possible that in the nearest future Russia, being the initiator of the project, will decide to shut it down, as it did with the South Stream. And given the challenges the project started to face at a very early stage, no one will feel sorry about it.