Erdogan and Putin in Turkey: Will Ankara throw a lifeline to Putin,

jeopardizing already shaky ties with NATO and creating turmoil for

other pipelines now in the 'pipeline'?



Russian Gas Deal Will Anger NATO; Threaten Existing Pipeline Plans (Hurriyet, Turkey)


"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. … 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."


By Serkan Demirtaş



December 5, 2014


Turkey - Hurriyet - Original Article (English)

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 much-anticipated South 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.



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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 some reasons:


Energy policy: 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 Taner Yıldız 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.



Russia-E.U. tensions: 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 against Russia.


Economic conditions: 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.




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[Posted by Worldmeets.US Dec. 5, 6:59am]




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