Linking the Turkish Stream, which will supply Russian gas to Turkey and further to Europe bypassing Ukraine, with Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) – the parts of the Southern Gas Corridor – is a scenario that goes against the EU energy diversification strategy, believes Andreas Marazis, project manager and researcher in the Brussels-based European Neighborhood Council think-tank.
“If Turkish Stream becomes operational and gets connected to TAP’s or TANAP’s capacity, Gazprom would retain its position in the South European markets and Turkey, competing with Azerbaijan, which is currently the sole gas supplier in the Southern Gas Corridor project,” Marazis told .
Russian Gazprom has been discussing possible use of the additional capacity of TAP or Turkey-Greece-Italy Interconnector (ITGI-Poseidon) for months. The idea to link Turkish Stream and TANAP was earlier proposed by Turkey.
Marazis noted that Turkish Stream’s proposed placement appears quite strategic: the last section of the pipeline would run up to Turkish city of Ipsala, just opposite the town of Kipoi, across the Greek border, where TANAP and TAP – the two main sections of the Southern Gas Corridor – are planned to connect.
He reminded that according to the rules set by the European Commission, TAP’s expansion capacity is open for third party access, allowing Gazprom to enter the competition.
According to the expert, half of the Russian gas pumped via the Turkish Stream can further be potentially pumped through TAP or ITGI-Poseidon.
Marazis stressed that there is, of course, interest from Gazprom to pump gas through TAP to Europe, adding that this idea has been already supported by two TAP shareholders - the Italian SNAM and the Belgian Fluxys.
“Ironically, the Southern Gas Corridor has been primarily promoted as a strategy to emancipate the EU’s gas supply from Russia and improve ‘energy security’,” he said.
Marazis said the Turkish Stream will also have negative effect on Ukraine. He reminded that Ukraine remains a major route for Russian gas to the EU.
According to the expert, in 2015, Ukrainian Naftogaz received $1.7 billion in transit revenues from Gazprom for transiting 64.1 billion cubic meters of gas.
“In conjunction with the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will have 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year capacity, Turkish Stream with a capacity of 31 billion cubic meters of gas per year will enable Moscow to terminate gas transit through Ukraine. For Ukraine, losing the gas revenues is bad news for its stabilization.”
Russia and Turkey signed an intergovernmental agreement on the construction of two offshore strings of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline in October 2016. Each string is estimated to have an annual capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of natural gas. The first string will supply gas directly to Turkey, while the second is to be used to deliver gas to European countries through Turkey. Initially, Russia and Turkey planned to build four strings of the pipeline.
Gazprom started construction of the Black Sea section of the Turkish Stream last Sunday.
World media monitoring