FURKAN – Experts worry about exaggeration of gas deal with Russia

Experts worry about exaggeration of gas deal with RussiaWith the Turkish media discussing the aantages of the construction of a new pipeline for natural gas between Russia and Turkey after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced it during his recent visit to Turkey last week, analysts are concerned that the fact that the new pipeline will not change the volume of gas supply between the two countries but will only change the means of transportation has been overlooked.Speaking to Todayand#39s Zaman after the International Mediterranean Energy Conference held by the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce on Monday, Dr Sorbet Karbuz, a senior energy expert at the Union for the Mediterranean Countriesand#39 Energy Companies, stated that Russia will continue to export 14 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Turkey for its domestic use through the planned pipeline, as well as nearly 50 billion cubic meters to be transported to Europe, according to official sources.

Karbuz underlined that statements by Russian officials regarding the deal indicate that Russia will only shift gas supply to Turkey from an existing pipeline to a new one. Besides, he added, media reports, where figures are generally exaggerated, should not be relied upon for such agreements.

Karbuz said there is no concrete evidence of an agreement that has been signed apart from a memorandum of understanding (MoU), which is also not binding.Along with granting Turkey a 6 percent discount on the price of gas during his visit last week, Putin announced Moscowand#39s decision to scrap the South Stream pipeline that would have traveled through many Balkan states and instead signed an MoU with Turkey to build a new pipeline under the Black Sea to transport Russian gas to Europe via Turkey.

Giving a presentation on energy security in the east Mediterranean region in relation to recent developments, Karbuz said the media and policymakers in Lebanon, Greek Cyprus and Israel have magnified the gas discoveries in the Mediterranean and marketed them for their political purposes for a long time.However, he added, the figures on paper which indicate the gas reserves below the sea do not mean they are all available for use immediately.

There is a lack of infrastructure that the countries need to drill out, process and export the gas, as well as political disagreements in the region, such as splits in opinion between the countries in defining each otherand#39s exclusive economic zones (EEZ), Karbuz also said.Regarding an alleged pipeline between Israel and Turkey through Cyprus, which has been featured in media reports since last year, Karbuz said during his presentation that a normalization of Israel-Turkey relations, the resolution of the Cyprus problem and dialogue between these three countries are the key determinants of the future of such a pipeline.

Cyprus was divided into a Turkish-speaking north and an internationally recognized, Greek-speaking south in 1974 when Turkey militarily intervened after an attempted coup by Greek Cypriot supporters of union of the island with Greece.The conference hosted Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner YIldIz and featured presentations by a number of national and international energy experts.

Delivering an opening speech about international energy corridors, YIldIz said Turkey is optimistically looking at new gas pipelines which may cross into Cyprus on the condition that the political status of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) is taken into consideration.YIldIz said Turkeyand#39s approach to the EEZ row between the KKTC and Greek Cyprus is the same as its approach in the dispute between the Kurdish region and the central government of Iraq, where both parts share the earnings from oil exports.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman