TODAY’S – Ankara OKs South Stream amid EU sanctions

Ankara OKs South Stream amid EU sanctionsThe Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning approved the environmental impact report (ED) for Turkey’s segment of the South Stream Offshore Pipeline, according to a statement by South Stream on Thursday however, proposed EU sanctions against Russia threaten to halt the project.The report indicated that the pipeline will not negatively impact the environment, concluding that marine ecology, water quality and the area’s fishing industry will not be affected by the project.

South Stream will extend from Russia to Bulgaria via Turkey with a total length of 930 kilometers. The part of the pipeline crossing through Turkish soil will be around 470 kilometers in length.

South Stream construction is being undertaken by the Russian firm OAO Gazprom, which has a 50 percent share in the project, the Italian company Eni SpA, the French energy company EDF and German company Wintershall Holding.The project will began towards the end of the year in Russia while construction on the part of the pipeline passing through Turkey will begin in 2015.

Sanctions to hit South StreamThe European Union’s proposed sanctions against Russia, targeting sensitive technology, take aim at Gazprom’s huge South Stream gas pipeline project.A draft proposal outlines a package of targeted measures in the areas of access to capital markets, defense, dual use goods and sensitive technologies, EU diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

It makes clear any measures should not affect current energy supplies and that sanctions should be reversible. But the list, if enforced, would delay major energy projects in the pipeline sector, which Russia dominates, and the fast-growing global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market, in which Russia is so far not a big participant.

The diplomats said the EU was considering restricting Russian access to piping used for building oil and natural gas pipelines, drilling pipes to extract oil and gas, floating or submersible drilling platforms, as well as floating cranes and dredging equipment.That would likely halt or delay development of Gazprom’s South Stream pipeline, planned to pump 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas a year, equivalent to 15 percent of European demand, via the Black Sea into the EU later this decade, cementing Russia’s position as the region’s dominant gas supplier.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman