Erdogan and Putin in Turkey: Will Ankara throw a lifeline
jeopardizing already shaky ties with NATO and creating turmoil
other pipelines now in the 'pipeline'?
Russian Gas Deal
Will Anger NATO; Threaten Existing Pipeline Plans (Hurriyet, Turkey)
deal calling for carrying Russian natural gas to Europe over Turkish soil could
be regarded as a major deviation from Ankara's two-decade-old energy policy. … Turkey
is also developing an important partnership with Azerbaijan through the Trans-Anatolia
Natural Gas Pipeline and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline. … a
decision by the government of Turkey to open its soils to the transport at of
Russian gas would draw strong reactions both from Brussels and Washington.
Giving Russia the kiss of life would not be seen as a well-intentioned move."
As expected, the Turkish-Russian High-Level Cooperation
Council just witnessed important developments - particularly in the field of
energy. Russian President Vladimir Putin declared an end to the
Stream project, a pipeline that would have carried some 63 billion cubic
meters (bcm) of natural gas to Europe under the Black
Sea and Bulgaria in a bid to bypass Ukraine.
The ongoing standoff Russia-E.U. standoff over Ukraine is
the major reason for the $23 billion-project was scrapped - a move many regard
as a bluff - and has obviously altered forecasts and plans for supplying gas to
Europe. In a bid to take the place of the South Stream project, at the end
signed a memorandum of understanding, Turkish and Russian officials authorized
state-owned companies Botaş and Gazprom to begin technical work on a new pipeline carrying precisely
the same amount of natural gas (63 billion cbm) to
Europe via Turkey. Turkey will take 14 billion cbm and
the rest, around 50 billion cbm, will be delivered to
Europe from a gas terminal on the Turkey-Greek border.
In order to meet its needs, Turkey has every sovereign right
to negotiate with any country, especially when it comes to energy. However,
when it comes to inking such a major agreement with Russia, Ankara should first
spend some time thinking about the regional and global consequences. Here are
Turkey’s entry into the global energy game dates back to the early 1990s, particularly
after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the birth of new independent states
sitting upon major hydrocarbon reserves. Since then, Turkey’s short term policy
was to become the main route for the transport of Caspian and Middle East
natural gas and oil, whereas its mid- and long-term policy was to transform
into an energy hub by making the Ceyhan port an
alternative to Rotterdam. The core of this policy was to attract Caspian
countries like Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, as well as Iran and
Iraq, to use Turkey as their main route - obviously in competition with Russia.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum
natural gas line were important achievements to this end. Now, entering a deal
calling for carrying Russian natural gas to Europe over Turkish soil could be regarded
as a major deviation from Ankara's two-decade-old energy policy.
Posted by Worldmeets.US
Potential impact on
Azerbaijani and Iraqi gas: Ending nearly a decade-old internal dispute –
and just a day after Putin's statement, Iraqi central and regional governments
announced a deal between themselves on oil sales and revenue sharing. Iraq is now
expected to speedily change global supply balances, not only by raising the
volume of crude it sells but with potential natural gas deals. On all
occasions, Iraqi authorities have expressed their intention to cooperate with
Turkey and get their reserves to global markets via Turkey.
Likewise, Turkey is also developing an important partnership
with Azerbaijan through the Trans-Anatolia
Natural Gas Pipeline, known as TANAP, and Trans-Adriatic
Pipeline, known as TAP. Both projects envisage transporting a significant
amount of gas to Greece and Italy. Therefore, there are concerns that realizing
a Russian pipeline would make these current Azeri projects unnecessary and Iraq's
projections utterly futile. Energy Minister TanerYıldız sought to calm these concerns yesterday
[Dec. 4], saying that Turkey sees these projects as a package, adding that
Turkey was a partner of Azerbaijan's projects.
Although Turkey is a non-E.U. country and its European partners are reluctant to
include the energy issue as part of negotiations for E.U. accession, a decision
by the government of Turkey to open its soils to the transport at of Russian
gas would draw strong reactions both from Brussels and Washington. Giving
Russia the kiss of life would not be seen as a well-intentioned move,
especially at a moment that Moscow is cornered by E.U. and U.S. sanctions and falling
oil prices. On the same day Putin was in Turkey, there was an indirect call to
Turkey [by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg] to join NATO sanctions
One other aspect is the deteriorating state of economic conditions in Russia, where
the authorities have already confessed that sanctions and lower oil prices have
cost the Russian economy $140 billion. With the collapse of South Stream, Gazprom's revenues from European markets will have to be
re-calculated, increasing concerns about its capacity to undertake such large
investments. With the slowdown of some economies in Europe, stalled energy
demand would jeopardize major investments like these. Therefore, the feasibility
of launching such a project with Russia requires more thinking.