Ankara, Moscow agree to run Turkish Stream by end-2016

Russia’s top natural gas producer Gazprom said on Thursday it had reached an agreement with Turkey to start gas supplies via the planned Turkish Stream pipeline in December 2016.

The announcement is a breakthrough for Gazprom because Turkey had earlier expressed concern over being too dependent on Russian energy supplies. Turkey has also been in talks with Russia over a gas price discount. Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller met Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz in Ankara on Thursday, Gazprom said in a statement. quotazprom will base today’s agreements on the schedule of work on Turkish Stream,quot Miller said in a statement. Gazprom started working on the Turkish Stream pipeline after it abruptly abandoned the South Stream project in December, citing objections from Europe. South Stream was designed to connect the Russian gas pipeline system with Bulgaria and southern Europe via the Black Sea. Gazprom plans to supply up to 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year via Turkish Stream and create a gas hub on the Turkish border with Greece, through which it wants to transit 47 bcm annually.

Russia is pushing on with plans to build Turkish Stream to Turkey and then Greece via the Black Sea, in line with its plans to stop exporting gas via Ukraine by 2019. But with Moscow in financial crisis, it is not clear if the plan will get off the ground. The EU, which imports around one third of its oil and gas from Russia, has imposed a series of sanctions on Moscow for its role in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Some Western counties claim Moscow is using energy as a geopolitical weapon. But Brussels will have its work cut out to persuade the whole bloc to keep up pressure.

ARABAiLIK Putin ready to support Turkish Stream in Greece

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras by phone on Thursday that Russia was willing to provide financing to Greek companies involved in a planned extension to the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project.

The Kremlin said in a statement that Putin had made similar assurances to Tsipras during the Greek leader’s visit to Moscow in April. Tsipras’s office had said earlier on Thursday that the two had talked by phone but did not give any details of what they had discussed. Russia started working on the Turkish Stream project after it abruptly abandoned the South Stream project in December, citing objections from Europe. Russia’s Gazprom plans to supply up to 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year via Turkish Stream and create a gas hub on the Turkish border with Greece, through which it wants to transit 47 bcm annually into countries in southern Europe. Russia has been speculated about as a potential source of funding for Greece if it fails to reach a deal with European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders, but Athens has denied plans to turn to Moscow for help. Athens is fast running out of money but a deal with European lenders has proved elusive so far.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN