Baku, Azerbaijan, May 23
By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:
Turkey, which is preparing to become a large energy hub and play an important role in ensuring Europe's energy security, once again made clear its priorities on this issue.
Turkish ambassador to Russia Umit Yardim said that the launch of the Turkish Stream announced by Russia as a new gas supply route to Europe, can't be implemented earlier than 2017. Moreover, the sides even haven't reached the initial stage of the project's implementation.
It is interesting that earlier, head of Gazprom Alexey Miller was talking about the launch of the Turkish Stream in December 2016. It remains a mystery how Russia is going to launch its project so early without official agreements with Ankara.
In fact, Gazprom is simply bluffing to somehow affect the process of implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project. However, frankly speaking, these attempts are a priori doomed to failure for numerous objective reasons.
The construction of TANAP is ahead of schedule. Italy has made a final decision on TAP pipeline, the work on the expansion of the South Caucasus Pipeline is also underway at full speed - all these factors play against the Turkish Stream.
Under these conditions, the Russian monopolist should be more realistic.
The implementation of the project will be considerably delayed without the official agreements, contracts approved by the sides of the route, environmental assessment of the project and other important documentation. All the mentioned stages require time and one can't gain much with verbal agreements.
In order to save time, Moscow announced the start of laying the pipeline in the first decade of June, 2015. However, without an official consent of the Turkish side, this step looks unjustified for the present.
Ankara, which soberly assesses the situation and is committed to its obligations, also well understands all this.
In accordance with the plans for the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor, Azerbaijani gas will be delivered to Turkey in 2018 and thus, the remarks by the Turkish ambassador suggest that Russian gas will be delivered to Turkey only after the Azerbaijani gas.
Maksim Tsurkov is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov