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Expert: Turkey eager to play more active role in Turkish Stream project

August 04, 2015, 21:44 UTC+3 ANKARA

Turkey wants to cooperate in transit of gas pumped by Gazprom via its territory instead of just receiving money for the transit, an analyst at an Ankara-based think tank says

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© ITAR-TASS Archive/Yury Belinsky

ANKARA, August 4. /TASS/. Turkey is eager to sign 2 agreements related to the Turkish Stream natural gas project and is interested in playing a more active role in implementation of the project, an analyst at Ankara-based think tank USAK (International Strategic Research Organization) Hasan Selim Ozertem told TASS on Tuesday.

He said Turkey is reluctant to play a purely instrumental role in gas transit via its territory.

"The Russian side intends to include all agreements on 4 lines of the pipeline in one contract. However, Turkey is eager to sign a separate agreement on the 15 bln cubic meters line, which is meant for its domestic needs, and another contract on energy hub to be constructed in Turkey," Ozertem said, adding that the reason for this policy are the strategic interests of Ankara, which has created a system of oil and gas transport facilities from the Caspian, Iran and Iraq in recent years.

"Turkey wants to cooperate in transit of gas pumped by Gazprom via its territory instead of just receiving money for the transit," he said.

Last week Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Russia is ready to sign an intergovernmental agreement on the 1st line of the Turkish Stream within 1-2 weeks. "Everything will depend on the Turkish Stream as we’ve submitted our agreement project to the Turkish side. They’re now studying it. We expect to receive their response to our suggestion," he said. Novak added that Russia expects to sign the intergovernmental agreement within the shortest possible time as it’s ready to do it "within a week or two."

Earlier a source in Russia’s Energy Ministry told TASS that at the level of the heads of states (Russia and Turkey — TASS) a decision on a phased implementation of the project has been made. "Russia is ready for a phased implementation of the project," the source said. Thus, the sides are currently negotiating documents regarding the first line of the Turkish Stream, which will supply Russian gas exclusively for the needs of the Republic. An intergovernmental agreement on 2-4 lines of the pipeline, which are expected to transfer gas to the EU countries, will be included in a separate document, the source said.

Turkish Stream project

On December 1, 2014 Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his visit to Ankara that Russia abandoned the South Stream project, and was embarking on the Turkish Stream instead. The project to build the South Stream gas pipeline was closed due to the European Union’s unconstructive approach to cooperation, including Bulgaria’s decision to stop the construction of the pipeline’s stretch on its territory. Putin said Russia would build a gas pipeline to Turkey where a gas hub on the border with Europe will be created. Gazprom and Turkey’s Botas signed a memorandum of understanding on building the pipeline’s offshore section across the Black Sea. Gazprom Russkaya was set up to be in charge of the pipeline construction.

The larger part of the Turkish Stream pipeline will run across the Black Sea and coincide with the South Stream route approved earlier. The pipeline’s underwater section is 900 km long, land section is 180 km long. The pipeline will have a capacity of 63 bln cubic meters, of which about 16 bln cubic meters will be given to Turkey. Unlike the South Stream, which implied a large-scale infrastructure construction in Europe, the Turkish Stream project is limited to the construction of a pipeline under the Black Sea and a gas hub on the border between Turkey and Greece. The remaining part of infrastructure will have to be built by Gazprom’s European customers themselves.

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