Baku, Azerbaijan, May 21
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
Being one of the TANAP project shareholders, Turkey itself seems to have created a competitor by negotiating with Russia on the Turkish Stream construction. In fact, it is obvious that Russia's Turkish Stream project, in which Ankara and Moscow have a disagreement, is not an alternative to Azerbaijan's Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline construction project.
Ankara and Moscow disagree on the Turkish Stream construction. The disagreement has not been fully resolved so far.
One of these disagreements is that the Turkish Botas company is not involved in the Turkish Stream construction. But, apparently, Ankara has solved this problem, although it is too early to talk about the implementation of the Turkish Stream project. Currently, Turkey and Russia do not have an intergovernmental agreement on the Turkish Stream construction.
Turkey will not take part in the construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz said in an interview with TRT Haber TV channel May 20.
"But despite this, Turkey will become a co-founder of the joint Russian-Turkish company," Yildiz said. "The company will be established in the province of Edirne. The advantageous onshore pipeline flange will be there."
Earlier, Turkish Botas company was not allowed to participate in the Turkish Stream construction. However, after the pipeline construction, Turkey will partially control the Russian gas that passes through it.
Earlier, Russia blackmailed Turkey by giving a discount for the supplied gas to the private sector of the country, so the motive behind Russia's decision to establish a joint company is of interest.
While Botas was expecting that Russia would provide Ankara with a 15 percent reasonable discount on the gas supplied to the country, Gazprom agreed to provide only private Turkish companies with a discount. Over a third of Russian gas imports account for these companies.
The discount for gas to the Turkish private sector was about 25 percent in the first quarter, plus 15 more percent in the second quarter of this year.
As a result, 1,000 cubic meters of Russian gas costs around $260 for Turkish private companies in May.
Naturally, Russian authorities well understand the consequences Turkey's energy policy can bring for Moscow. Ankara has repeatedly said that Turkey intends to become the region's energy hub. Turkey should count on the energy resources of the neighboring countries, as it is an energy dependent country.
This suggests that Northern Iraq is a key player and the remarks made by Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz also prove that. He has repeatedly said that Ankara's policy in the sphere of energy won't allow the energy resources of the region, especially, that of Northern Iraq to be at a standstill.
Currently, Ankara and Erbil (capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Northern Iraq) have a gas supply contract. Northern Iraq is expected to start gas export to Turkey in 2016 in accordance with the agreement.
Under the contract, the initial volume of gas supply to Turkey will be 30 million cubic meters per year.
Gas that will be supplied to Turkey from Iraq will cost half the price of Russian gas; much cheaper than the price of Russian gas delivered to Turkey's private companies.
Russian Gazprom realizes the threat of Iraqi gas, at least because if this gas is delivered to Turkey, Turkish private companies won't be able to compete with this gas.
So, Turkey's energy policy as distinct from that of Russia turned out to be stronger and farsighted and Ankara today breaks Moscow's energy stereotypes.
Edited by CN
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu