Russia Ready to Go On with Turkish Stream, Erdogan Says after Meeting Putin

Business » ENERGY | August 9, 2016, Tuesday // 20:03
Bulgaria: Russia Ready to Go On with Turkish Stream, Erdogan Says after Meeting Putin EPA/BGNES

The Turkish Stream gas pipeline project will be implemented as quickly as possible, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made clear after a meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg.

After shaking hands in front of the cameras in St Petersburg, the two leaders have stressed the importance of normalization, after an incident with a Russian fighter-bomber shot down by the Turkish Air Force strained relations for eight months.

Following their subsequent meeting, Turkish and Russian media outlets have reported that Russia will work to revive cooperation with Turkey in trade and tourism, lifting sanctions to Turkish companies.

TASS and Anadolu Agency have quoted Erdogan as saying his country is ready to bring forward both Turkish Stream and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project.

Work on both projects involving Turkey and Russia were frozen after the incident. The former, a pipeline delivering Russian gas to Turkey across the Black Sea, was announced in the late autumn of 2014 as a substitute to South Stream, which was to use Bulgaria as a transit destination but was met with opposition by the West.

"As regards Turkish Stream, our colleagues from Ankara continued work [on the project] even in a period of a crisis in relations," Russian business daily RBC quotes Putin as saying.

The continuation of Turkish Stream was announced late last month, with officials saying the Putin-Erdogan meeting would give it "political momentum".

Several parallel threads were initially planned to be constructed to pump 63 billion cubic meters a year (the volumes projected for South Stream) but were later slashed to two, amid uncertainty over European demand that could also be met through Turkish Stream and amid a dispute over gas pricing.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Tuesday said only one of the two threads could be started after the talks. Work on the other one could not be renewed without guarantees from the European Commission it would not block the project, he noted, in a clear reference to the possibility to use Turkey as a transit hub and transport part of the gas further to Europe.

The move calls into question the Bulgarian government's ambition to discuss a renewal of South Stream with Russian authorities.

Some experts, however, have already suggested Russia might go for both projects, but not without introducing changes.


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Tags: Russia, turkey, Turkish Stream, South stream, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin
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