Work began on laying the deep-water section of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline. As Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first string of the gas pipeline will open by March of the year 2018, and the second - for subsequent transportation to the countries of Southern and South-Eastern Europe - in 2019. That is, the implementation of the project is ahead of schedule: previously the first thread of the "Turkish flow" was planned to be put into operation until the end of 2019.
The Russian president, personally from the side of the pipelaying vessel Pioneering Spirit, telephoned his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the beginning of deepwater works. "We are developing projects with Turkey as they do not develop with many of our other partners," the Russian leader said. "In 2018 the first line will be ready, and at the end of 2019 the second line will be ready. And if our partners want, we will be ready to supply gas through the territory of Turkey to both South and South-Eastern Europe. We see that our partners have such an interest, "Vladimir Putin recalled.
"About 30 years, energy projects between our countries, especially those related to natural gas, are a very important and reliable part of the energy security of our country," Erdogan said. According to him, "Russia is an important player in the region on the energy market thanks to natural gas resources and a strong infrastructure."
"For Turkey, natural gas is a key energy resource. It generates 38% of electricity in the country. More than 12 million households use gas for heating and cooking. The construction of the Turkish Stream will significantly increase the energy security of the region, "confirmed Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.
From 2005 to 2015 year, natural gas consumption in Turkey grew by an average of 4,4% per year, the highest growth rate in Europe. And the growing needs were met largely due to Russian gas.
No less important, according to Alexey Miller, natural gas has for the whole region of South-Eastern Europe: "The fall in domestic gas production, the need to reduce the share of coal in the energy of the Balkan countries create the preconditions for a steady increase in demand for natural gas in this part of Europe."
"Turkish flow" is necessary for everyone ", - states The Financial Times. As Emre Ertürk, head of the Enerji IQ research organization, said in an interview with FT, Moscow's "outstanding abilities" for energy diplomacy will allow it to find ways to maintain its influence, no matter how the Turkish energy landscape changes.
There is no doubt that Russia will fulfill its obligations under the "Turkish flow". As for the fate of the export branch of the gas pipeline, it will depend to a decisive degree on the position of the European Union. In order to fulfill the requirements of the Third Energy Package of the EU, Gazprom, as a gas supplier, will bring the export pipe only to the gas distribution hub on the Greek-Turkish border, from which it should already enter a pipe belonging to European companies.
As one of the possible options, the connection of the Turkish flow with the planned gas pipeline ITGI Poseidon from Turkey through Greece and the Ionian Sea to Italy is considered. Sources in Rome have already made it clear that the Italian side is interested in transferring the point of reception of Russian gas from northern to southern Italy with the calculation for the integrated system "Turkish flow" - ITGI Poseidon.
In early June, within the framework of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, a working meeting between Alexey Miller and Edison SpA, Chief Executive Officer of EDF Group Mark Benayoun, was held. Edison SpA, a member of the EDF group, is currently one of the main players in the Italian and European markets. The participants of the meeting noted the progress achieved in the work to create a southern route for Russian gas supplies to Europe and discussed the implementation of the tripartite Russian-Italian-Greek cooperation agreement signed by Gazprom, Edison and DEPA. This agreement provides for joint work on the organization of a southern route for the supply of Russian gas to Europe from Russia through Turkey to Greece and further to Italy. According to the document, the companies will also coordinate the work on the implementation of the Turkish Stream project.
At the meeting in St. Petersburg, the parties stressed the importance of implementing the Poseidon gas pipeline project for the timely creation of an appropriate receiving infrastructure in Europe, which can function in a single complex with the Turkish Stream.
The validity of Italy's position in favor of the integration of gas transport projects of Russia and the EU is confirmed by new data released by the world's leading agencies and institutions regarding the preservation of the decisive role of Russian gas supplies to ensure Europe's energy security. In particular, the US rating and price agency S & P Platts unveiled in mid-June a report that the role of pipeline gas supplies from Russia to ensure Europe's energy security will grow at least "in the medium term."
It is no coincidence that the two leading EU countries - Germany and Austria - sharply criticized the draft law on stricter anti-Russian sanctions recently submitted to the US Congress. One of the points of this document directly relates to the implementation of the Nord Stream-2 project, which, in the view of Berlin and Vienna, is an open intervention by the American side in European affairs, dictated by the desire to ensure its own political and economic interests in this way.
In addition, the German and Austrian delegations, in the framework of the meeting of the energy ministers of the EU member states held a few days ago, blocked the delegation of the European Commission with an additional mandate to negotiate with Russia to create a "special legal framework" for the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline. Germany and Austria believe that there is no need for such steps, the Russian project does not violate the EU legislation, and any legal delay will only slow the construction of a gas pipeline beneficial to Europeans.
There is one more important circumstance that makes the Western partners of Russia take seriously the issues of cooperation with Moscow in the energy sphere. At present, we can talk about a much higher level of coordination between the leading Russian companies actively working in the world markets for gas and oil. In particular, over the past year, the Russian oil company Rosneft has entered the sixth place in the world among public companies for gas production. According to Igor Sechin, the chairman of the board of PJSC "NK Rosneft", the company's task is "to become the third company in the world at the beginning of the next decade", and to increase the gas production to 2020 billion cubic meters by the year of 100 and the share in the Russian market to 20%. In addition, Rosneft plans to expand its participation in the Zohr gas project on the Egyptian shelf, as well as projects in Venezuela, Brazil, Mozambique, Vietnam and Norway.
As for Gazprom, this company, taking into account the processes taking place in the EU, continues to consistently increase gas supplies to European countries. In particular, according to Alexander Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Management Committee of Gazprom, currently negotiations are under way with the British side to increase sales of Russian gas to the UK on the background of the closure of the coal mines and the largest storage facility there. "We see the appetite of the largest players in the UK to buy additional volumes of gas," said Alexander Medvedev. In his estimation, the British side can increase the volume of gas purchases to 2025 from current 8 billion cubic meters to 12 billion cubic meters.
During the first half of this year, all of Moscow's key European partners in the EU, including Germany and the Netherlands, increased purchases of Russian gas.
This situation opens new opportunities for cooperation of all international companies interested in constructive interaction with Russia. And the implementation of the projects "Nord Stream - 2" and "Turkish Stream" will create an integrated system for ensuring energy security in Europe based on long-term supplies of Russian gas.