Nina Dyulgerova: Russia Playing Poker with South Stream to Shift EU Position

Novinite Insider » INTERVIEW | Author: Angel Petrov |December 2, 2014, Tuesday // 14:23| Views: | Comments: 8
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Bulgaria: Nina Dyulgerova: Russia Playing Poker with South Stream to Shift EU Position Photo by nina-dulgerova.org

An interview of Novinite with prof. Nina Dyulgerova, an expert in International Relations and Geoeconomics of Global Energy, on the latest events around South Stream.

Since April 2001, Dyulgerova has been Professor of International Relations at the Varna Free University Chernorizets Hrabar. She is also teaching at a Master's program titled National and International Security at the New Bulgarian University.

She has published a number of works on energy, as well as on geopolitics and security in the Caucasus and the Black Sea Region.

- See more at: http://www.novinite.com/articles/161212/Nina+Dyulgerova%3A+Bulgaria+to+%27Close+Its+Doors%27+without+South+Stream#sthash.5bemeweS.dpuf

An interview of Novinite with prof. Nina Dyulgerova, an expert in International Relations and Geoeconomics of Global Energy, on the latest events around South Stream.

Since April 2001, Dyulgerova has been Professor of International Relations at the Varna Free University Chernorizets Hrabar. She is also teaching at a Master's program titled National and International Security at the New Bulgarian University. She has published a number of works on energy, as well as on geopolitics and security in the Caucasus and the Black Sea Region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the South Stream project cannot be carried out under the present conditions. Is the project really coming to a halt or the statement is part of a strategy aimed at Europe?

In my opinion it is part of a strategy. I usually use the term "a game of energy poker," this is also being played now. It is not a coincidence that Vladimir Putin declared a few years ago, and again in Ankara, he was building the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline after we refused to have Burgas-Alexandroupoli. It is plausible to accept this is a game in which Russia requires certainty about South Stream. Having in mind that there is a a meeting between the EU and Russia's foreign ministers scheduled for Thursday, I think there will be a breakthrough there. It is one thing to say Brussels is prioritizing the Southern Gas Corridor (which is just in the sphere of likelihood) over South Stream, where we all known the pipes have also been delivered, we have a number of political agreements signed, all states apart from Bulgaria have approved it from the political perspective. So [Putin's] attack is targeting both Brussels and Sofia, but also Washington. It is no secret that the American line is having a predominance in Bulgaria over the past years, more than any other line. At the same time none of the pro-US analysts who welcomed Putin's declaration was able to tell what South Stream's alternative is. This was the last project we hoped could bring fresh money and jobs. All those who are blaming Russia for defending its energy interests are shying away from the question how Bulgaria should defend its own interests, given that we live in the twenty-first "energy" century, but Bulgaria is on ground zero despite having had three or four energy projects in which we were included as part of diversification.

Putin pointed to Bulgaria as the main culprit for the halt of South Stream. Is this a hint that if Sofia makes a shift in its position, the project might go on? Is this about pressure on Bulgaria and a message it is Sofia's stance that the project depends on?

This is true. All other countries came up with statements saying they supported South Stream. At the same time back in June [Bulgaria's] Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski promptly took a decision on his own. With this umptieth element of the poker game Russia demands again a concrete solution. Because the new EU Commission college, unlike the old one, has not specifically declared its position on South Stream.

Putin's words come at a time when the new EU Commission has just assumed office. Do you think his statement will lead to new attempts at a compromise between Brussels and Moscow?

Surely, if the EU Commission has an instinct of self-preservation, it will enter into a coherent relationship with Russia, since Europe's dependence on Russia is bigger than that of Russia on Europe. Brussels has no options as a result of the Arab spring, the Syrian crisis and the Iranian nuclear program. It is no coincidence for Putin to make his declaration in December: winter is coming, Ukraine is not a stable territory through which the most important gas corridors of Europe make their way. Europe has to think on how to settle the issue. There should be no illusions the crisis [in Ukraine] is to have a solution soon.

If construction of South Stream is halted, wouldn't a new gas pipeline virtually be "Blue Stream 2"? Comments emerged on Tuesday morning that even Blue Stream's capacity is not fully used...

Generally no pipeline has its capacity used 100 percent, this is not the point. The paradox is that the Bulgarian energy experts argued we should renounce South Stream to curb our dependence on Russia, but if a pipeline is built between Bulgaria and Turkey, we will receive gas from Turkey at much higher prices, but the most interesting is it will be again Russian gas. And what will remain for Bulgaria? We have an outdated transportation system, [we have] the Kozloduy NPP, where it is not clear whether units 5 and 6 will remain operation, we have a few TPPs with two of them American. We also have green energy where there is an absurd agreement between the state and producers, because we are now paying regardless of whether we use it or not. We have no output, unemployment is on the rise, people are leaving the country. Where is the perspective? What does Bulgaria win from the Third Energy Package? All that remains is the bare truth that if South Stream is not carried out, Bulgaria will be circumvented and in a year or two I don't know if it will still be here.

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Tags: Vladimir Putin, South stream, US, Bulgaria, EU Commission, gas. Turkey, Samsun-Ceyhan, Burgas-Alexandroupoli
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» To the forumComments (8)
#8
sa-sha - 19 Dec 2014 // 15:12:02

No other real reasons apart from the US' pressure on EU and Bg, Mr.Stoenv. Not clear yet?

#7
stoenv - 18 Dec 2014 // 12:07:55

Well, I just read that the consortium from France's "Total", Austria's "UMV" and a Spanish counterpart are postponing the drilling for gas and petrol in the Black Sea's "Khan Asparouh" sector because of unfavourable financial climate and they point specifically tio the current low price of fuels. This means that their return on the expenses in drilling is not going to be satisfactory financially.
I work out that this should be the real reason for Gazprom not to go ahead with the pipeline "South Stream". Everything else seems to be just a smoke screen-including the statements of Putin and Medvedev trying to put the blame on Bulgaria and score politically.

#6
B o B - 3 Dec 2014 // 18:39:36

I didn't get an impression that this "professor from an unknown university" is praising Putin and Russia. I think she is strongly pro-Bulgaria and Bulgaria economic interests.

The truth is Bulgaria is out of profitable project and got nothing in return, except some empty blah, blah, blah.

#5
Tanito fox - 3 Dec 2014 // 04:35:09

So even this newspaper is now under the CIA... it censors comments LOL Cool, dudes, you are now bankrupt. No way to manipulate the data forever... bankrupt cy is just around the corner LOL

#4
Yane - 3 Dec 2014 // 00:47:12

Shift EU position? Lol? Germany has north stream. Does EU care what Italy thinks? No, not for the last 2000 years.

Germans don't care if all of southern europe freezes over.

#3
Optimistic - 2 Dec 2014 // 22:26:15

The failure to build South Stream is bad for Europe and bad for Bulgaria.

Most Russian gas gets to Europe through the Ukraine, that country is an unstable mess and gas supplies to Europe are at risk because of the Ukraine.

It would be safer for Europe to have the pipelines going through a stable Western Democracy like Bulgaria than through some country ruled by Facists and Oligarchs that will steal the gas destined for Europe.

#2
Tania Oz - 2 Dec 2014 // 18:01:12

The first question in this interview doesn't make sense. "Is the project really coming to a halt or the statement is part of a strategy aimed at Russia's response?"

Novinite: If Putin (Russia) announced he is withdrawing from South Stream, how can Russia respond? Dumb.

#1
Fester - 2 Dec 2014 // 16:59:27

Why is this "professor" from an unknown "university" invited here regularly to praise Putin and Russia?

I think you can get a more intelligent opinion about Southstream from her neighbors in her panelki block in Varna's Mladost.

Why don't you get real professors from real universities with some sort of international ranking like Sofia University to come here and give frequent opinions?

I'm all for diversity of opinion but having a third rate monkey from a 5th rate provincial high school come here and praise Putin and Russia and demonize the West is not very intellectually challenging or rewarding for your readers.

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