The fate of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project will largely depend on the further relations between Russia and Turkey with regards to the Syrian issue, according to the analyst at "Eurasia Energy Observer" Andrej Tibold.
Tibold told Trend that the official postponement of Turkish Stream’s construction is a sign that things are not evolving according to plan.
“Theoretically, it is possible that Russia and Turkey agree on the pipeline construction until the end of this year. I think much will depend whether Russia and Turkey can find a common language on Syria,” Tibold said.
Turkey is increasingly concerned about Russian military activity in its near abroad, he said.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said that the planes of Russian air forces, involved in the military operation in Syria, violated Turkey’s airspace on Oct. 3. The aircraft of Turkish air forces carried out warning sorties following the violation of the country’s airspace. After this Russian planes left the Turkish airspace.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin appealed to the Federation Council for permission to use the Russian Armed Forces abroad. The Senate approved this request. The head of the Russian Presidential Administration Sergey Ivanov told reporters that the decision concerns Syria and the matter rests in the operation of the Military Air Forces.
Russia sent military aircraft to Syria after Damascus’s request.
With regard to the Turkish Stream, Tibold believes that in contrast to Russia, Turkey does not really need this project, since it already has direct supply route for Russian gas via Blue Stream.
“Russia, in turn, does have a strong interest in both Turkish Stream and Nord Stream 2, as long as the situation in Ukraine remains unstable,” Tibold said.
He further said that the exports to Asia should come from other sources and therefore are separate from Turkish Stream.
“Russia’s interest in Turkish Stream thus remains strong. It is just that its geopolitical interests in Syria currently outweigh the risk of jeopardising its relationship with Turkey, and consequently an agreement on Turkish Stream,” he added.
Russia could therefore decide to offer concessions for this project to Turkey, Tibold believes.
Recently Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that an intergovernmental agreement on the Turkish Stream will be signed not earlier than December 2015 - January 2016. He added that the work on the text of the agreement is underway at the level of experts and technical specialists.
At the same time Anadolu with reference to the minister Alaboyun, reported that Turkey is not yet ready to discuss the Turkish Stream. Turkey may consider this project only after the parliamentary election to be held in November, according to the minister.
The project for the ‘Turkish Stream’ involves the construction of four gas pipeline strings at a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas each. The gas, which is to go via the first string, is completely meant for Turkish market, while the remaining volumes will be brought to Turkey’s border with Greece, where a gas hub is planned to be located.
In early August 2015, Gazprom was reported to have revised plans on construction of the ‘Turkish Stream’ and that it would give up the third and fourth strings of the pipeline.
The reason was said to be the “absence of a key agreement on granting Ankara a discount on Russian gas.”
World media monitoring