Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec.18
By Aynur Gasimova - Trend:
Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time confirmed that Moscow intends to directly compete with the supplies of gas from Azerbaijan, and to revive the Nabucco gas pipeline project, which was previously planned for Azerbaijani gas supplies to Europe and which was actively criticized by Moscow.
Vladimir Putin said at the annual press conference Dec.18 that the creation of a gas hub on the border between Turkey and Greece depends on Europe, and with its help Moscow could deliver its gas to Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and the Austrian Baumgarten.
Greece and Southern Europe countries are now considered key priority markets for Azerbaijani gas, and the gas from the Shah Deniz field is planned to be delivered exactly to them.
The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which will go to Italy through Greece, Albania, was chosen for this purpose, and its branches will make it possible to supply gas to the countries formed after the collapse of Yugoslavia - Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Macedonia.
The gas markets of these countries are so small that there is no place for two suppliers there. And if Russia enters this market with its gas, to put it mildly, the situation will become difficult.
In his statement, the Russian president mentioned Baumgarten, Austria. This town is the end point of Nabucco project. It was designed for Azerbaijani gas supply through the Southern Gas Corridor to Europe.
The Nabucco project concept envisages the construction of a 3,900-kilometer pipeline through Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria from the Turkish-Bulgarian border to Austria's Baumgarten. Although this project was planned to stretch from the Turkish-Bulgarian border, it will not be difficult to supply gas there from the Turkish-Greek border, where Russia plans to create a gas hub.
Despite that the consortium developing Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field, has not chosen Nabucco, the pipeline's intended route has not lost its relevance yet.
Its major disadvantage for Azerbaijan was that the gas pipeline's capacity of 31 billion cubic meters per year exceeded the estimated volume of 10 billion cubic meters..
As a result, two-thirds of the pipeline's capacity would have remained unused, while the attracted and spent funds would have to be returned from the full capacity of the gas pipeline.
However, Russia doesn't have such a problem. The country is ready to deliver about 50 billion cubic meters of gas to the border of Turkey and Greece, and this volume will more than fill the estimated capacity of Nabucco.
There is another problem however. Vladimir Putin said it himself - the issue of creating a gas hub depends on Europe.
It depends on Europe - which earlier did everything possible to hack the "South Stream" to death - whether it wants to receive Russia's gas from Turkey or not. This is a great question.
However, today, it is clear that some countries have already begun to put pressure on the EU from the inside.
Thus, Bulgaria announced about the resumption of talks on the "South Stream".
Apparently, Bulgaria wants to get additional preferences within the EU, since its negotiations with Russia alone will not bring any results.
Although Russia still needs to develop the new gas pipeline project, find funds for financing it and reach a common ground with Europe (which is unlikely now), many things will depend on Turkey.
Currently, Turkey is not only a transit state, but also a direct participant of the 'Southern Gas Corridor'.
Through its state companies, Turkey participates in the development of Shah Deniz field, South Caucasus gas pipeline and is one of the largest shareholders of the Trans Anatolian gas pipeline project (TANAP). TANAP is designed to run through the entire territory of this country.
Therefore, today Turkey faces only one question: Is the country ready to compete with itself?
Edited by SI
Aynur Gasimova is the head of Trend Agency's English news service, follow her on Twitter @AynuraGM