Russian gas monopoly doomed to failure
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 24
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
If we consider Russia's energy policy, we can see that almost all energy projects of Moscow are, first and foremost, political. The same situation was with the South Stream. Russia is eager to thrust the Turkish Stream on Turkey. There is no doubt that the Turkish Stream is also a part of the political pressure on the EU in case of its implementation.
Despite Russia's efforts in this direction, it is early to talk about the implementation of the Turkish Stream at least because the EU, with the exception of Greece, covered by economic chaos, has not showed much interest in this project.
Russia has the opportunity to supply gas to China through the Power of Siberia project. But apparently, it also had problems here. China has refused from financing the project, saying that it can receive gas via Altai route. But this can be done only if Gazprom finances the continuation of the construction of this gas pipeline (4,000 kilometers) through the Chinese territory.
That is, all attempts to blackmail the EU are useless because only Gazprom is confident that China can replace Europe in the issue related to Russian gas.
According to the Western media, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria signed a joint declaration at the summit of the EU Eastern Partnership member-states in Riga on May 22.
The declaration includes the creation of a gas interconnector that will connect Central and Eastern Europe. According to the media, Eastring gas pipeline project is the basis for uniting the infrastructure. This gas pipeline will connect the above-mentioned countries.
In case of implementing this project, the capacity of the new pipeline is expected to reach 20 billion cubic meters with an extension of up to 40 billion cubic meters. Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, as well as Iraq, Cyprus, Russia and the West can be the potential gas suppliers via the new route.
But a question arises. Did any of the above-mentioned countries, except Azerbaijan and Russia, declare its readiness to supply gas to Europe and undertake any actions?
On the other hand, does Azerbaijani gas need additional route today? The gas will be supplied from Azerbaijan to Europe via TANAP and TAP.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has recently said that Azerbaijan expects strong support from the EU in the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project. This will allow the EU to provide its citizens with reliable, stable and uninterrupted energy supply.
Taking this into account, we can say that the Eastring implementation is only in the interests of Russia now, which is so committed to the Turkish Stream implementation.
But if the Eastring project is implemented and such countries as Turkmenistan and Iraq join the Southern Gas Corridor, this will only increase the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor, and in particular, TANAP project. Thus, Russia will lose the gas monopoly status in Europe.
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu