Will EU head east for oil?
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec.12
By Emil Ismayilov - Trend:
The standoff between the EU and Russia has almost reached its peak. Russia advances in all possible directions, seeking to master new markets. In these circumstances, the EU feels the need to take effective counter measures.
With this a big question arises. Russia can make offers and express readiness to implement ambitious energy projects, including the creation of a new transmission infrastructure, and the EU, which calls for the diversification of routes of gas supplies and ensuring its energy security, takes a wait-and-see attitude - why?
Now Russia is offering to Turkey the chance to expand cooperation in the field of gas supply. The Russian side is also active in the development of markets in Central Asia. Ankara, in turn, despite the EU sanctions against Russia, intends to cooperate with the Russian side.
The Ambassador of Turkey to Azerbaijan Ismail Alper Coskun said that the decision to expand cooperation with Russia (construction of the so-called Turkish stream) depends on the profitability of the project for both sides. Projects of Trans Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and the construction of a new gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey can become complementary.
The Euhas taken the position to reduce dependence on Russian gas and expand the routes of gas supplies, but this is not enough. The EU should be making a more competitive and profitable offer to the Turkish side.
Against this background, there is a very favorable situation for the EU to intensify its efforts to implement the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, which will allow for the transportation of Turkmen gas across the Caspian Sea, and then its export to the European market through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.
As distinct from the idea of construction of a gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey through the Black Sea that still needs the most basic work on assessing the economic viability of the project, progress has already been achieved in the implementation of Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project.
The construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline has been on the agenda for a long time and all the parties have expressed their position on this issue. Turkmenistan is ready to sell gas on its border, the EU is interested in attracting additional volume of gas and Azerbaijan can offer its gas transport infrastructure and opportunities for the further transportation of gas to Europe.
Under the current conditions, it becomes clear that EU needs this project more than the others do. And now it is the time to act! That is to say, the process should switch from the negotiations with Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan to actual intense work, with the European side proposing clear and effective measures, mechanisms for financing and attracting companies to this project.
If all this were to come true, it would break the deadlock. All this would increase the interest of both Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in participation in this project and as a result these countries would even can take part in its financing.
In view of the rapprochement between Turkey and Russia, it becomes clear that EU is more than ever interested in new gas supply sources and Turkmenistan could easily play the role of such sources. All the parties would achieve their goals: EU would get a new gas supply source, Turkmenistan would get access to a new market and Azerbaijan would get dividends from the gas transportation process, while Russia would have to seek new options.
Edited by CN
Emil Ismayilov is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @Emilsmail