ST. PETERSBURG, October 3. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin estimates 2018 gas deliveries to Europe at 200 billion cubic meters.
"This year, we will have sold 200 billion [cubic meters of gas] to Europe," Putin said at a joint press conference after talks with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
The Russian president noted that European countries will inevitably consume Russian gas because "other options are more costly and will reduce the overall competitiveness of European economy."
Putin concluded that both Russia and Europe are interested in implementing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, especially now when European consumers' demands are growing. "What will happen next? Will Europe buy gas which is 30% more expensive, including from the USA? They can, of course, but it is not smart, you know? This would be squandering and reducing their own competitiveness in the world," he noted.
The Russian leader underscored that such projects as the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline should be implemented in the interests of the global economy.
Russia welcomes the position of Austria supporting implementation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, Putin continued. "[Austria’s] OMV is also participating in construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline system. The Russian side welcomes Austria’s position in support of this project, having significant importance for the whole European continent," he said.
The Russian president noted "fruitful cooperation between Russia and Austria in the energy sphere." "Our country provides smooth supplies of energy resources to Austria and by transit over its territory to other European countries. This is one of key points in our interaction," Putin added.
The Russian leader said he hopes Europe will be able to defend its participation in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.
"Bulgaria refused to participate [in the South Stream gas pipeline project] under outside pressure. Now they regret it and want to have our gas delivered through the TurkStream gas pipeline. No one would want all European countries to look like Bulgaria, to show such weakness and inability to defend their own interests," he said.
"Bulgarian colleagues used to assure us that no matter what, they will fight for the South Stream until the end because the project is in line with their naitonal interests. The project boosts their status as a transit coutry for gas to Europe, for around 400 million euros per year, just because the pipeline goes through their territory," the Russian president reminded. He added that the project would have also created several thousand jobs.
"I want to assure you that Russia has always been and will always remain the most reliable supplier, especially because the pipeline goes directly from the place of gas extraction in Yamal, in Siberia," Putin stressed adding that such system has no transit risks.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is expected to come into service at the end of 2019. The pipeline is set to run from the Russian coast along the Baltic Sea bed to the German shore. Each of the pipeline’s two stretches will have a capacity of 27.5 bln cubic meters. The new pipeline will double the capacity of the first stretch and will basically follow its route. The total cost of the pipeline is estimates at 9.5 bln euros.