The Turkish Stream gas pipeline is a kind of copy of the failed South Stream. In 2014, Russia, due to the position of Bulgaria, refused to build South Stream with a capacity of 63 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
One of the goals of South Stream was to reduce dependence on the Ukrainian gas transportation system, since one of its branches would have to go through Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary to Austria, and the other through Greece to Italy. The idea was that the second branch would provide with blue fuel not only the underbelly of Europe, but also other countries of the Mediterranean basin, in particular Israel.
However, the discovery of large gas fields near the coast of Israel and Cyprus significantly reduced the prospects of the Greek direction. Moreover, instead of the Nabucco project, which represented the gas corridor for Azerbaijani gas and this is quite a serious competitor for South Stream, a project of the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline through Georgia and Turkey to the Greek border and then through the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline to Italy appeared. Their capacities are comparable to those of the Turkish Stream - 16 billion cubic meters of gas at the initial stage (with the possibility of increasing to 60 billion cubic meters). At the Turkish Stream, each branch has a design capacity of about 16 billion cubic meters per year.
Now the discussion of the future of the Turkish Stream is connected with its continuation either to Bulgaria, which intends to become a gas hub for South-Eastern Europe, or through Greece to Italy. The main difference in this case is the significantly lower power of the second branch of the Turkish Stream compared to the South Stream.
Today, Russia's decision on the future direction is connected with the decision of the EU Commission. At the same time, the European Commission fully supports the aspiration of Bulgaria to connect gas supplies. This will help create a diversified and competitive market. According to experts, diversified gas supplies to Bulgaria and South-Eastern Europe are important for a successful energy union, since energy security is one of its foundations.
However, there are well-founded assumptions that Bulgaria may decide to become a transit country instead of a gas hub and make money on transit.
On the other hand, during the recent visit of the Greek Prime Minister Tsipras to Moscow, his proposal was made to build a continuation of the “Turkish Stream” to Greece and even to connect it to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline. This is due to the fact that there are certain doubts about the ability of Azerbaijan to fill the Trans-Anatolian and Trans-Adriatic gas pipelines with its gas.
Of course, Russia can expand the second branch of the Turkish Stream and thus avoid Balkan rivalry.