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Research Report

The Impact of Turkish Stream on European Energy Security and the Southern Gas Corridor

John Roberts
Copyright Date: Jul. 1, 2015
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 24
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 8-8)

    Russia will proceed to develop its Turkish Stream project to carry gas across the Black Sea to Turkey. It may not construct the system to the full 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year capacity announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin when he unveiled the project in Ankara on December 1, 2014, but there should be no doubt that a new set of lines from Russia to Turkey will be built in the next few years.

    Turkish Stream will certainly have an impact on the development of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), the European Union (EU)-backed set of projects that...

  2. (pp. 8-13)

    The scale of Turkish Stream is by no means assured. Yet, while a full 63 bcm per year (bcm/y) system would have profound implications for Europe’s gas balance, particularly concerning the possible construction of new infrastructure in Greece, a more limited system of around half this size would also have major implications for European consumers, particularly in the Balkans.

    There are good reasons to suppose that Gazprom will at least proceed with the construction of a two-string pipeline across the Black Sea to a landfall at Kıyıköy in Turkey, and then onwards to a terminal on the Turkish-Greek border at...

  3. (pp. 13-14)

    Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller declared on April 13, 2015, that his company would halt gas deliveries to Europe through Ukraine when the current contract expires in 2019.³ Instead, it would redirect transit to Turkish Stream. He coupled this statement with an argument that Gazprom could easily double the volume of gas delivered to Europe, but that there was no indication that European consumers required that capacity.⁴ This meant, as Miller argued, that such volumes could simply be dispatched to other markets, such as Asia.⁵

    What the Gazprom CEO did not make clear was whether this meant that Gazprom is planning...

  4. (pp. 14-15)

    The issue of whether Gazprom might seek to secure space on the TAP from Kipoi to Italy is both a political issue and an issue concerning the comparative capacities of the two systems. The political issue concerns both the right of Gazprom to access a line originally developed to help Europe access new, non-Russian gas supplies and the consequences for European customers—and by extension European energy security—of Gazprom securing space on TAP.

    The capacity element raises the possibility of Gazprom seeking to access the TAP line. At its most basic (see table 1), the point is that the...

  5. (pp. 15-18)

    In the longer run, the Russians have made it clear that they believe new infrastructure will have to be built on the Greek side of the Turkish-Greek frontier to carry Turkish Stream gas to Europe. This particularly applies to the need for new or expanded pipelines to carry third- and fourth-string gas, but it would, of course, also apply where Gazprom to decide not to use TAP. As a result, there has been a flurry of activity concerning new gas pipelines in the Balkans that could act as onward extensions of Turkish Stream.

    The country most deeply involved, since Turkish...

  6. (pp. 18-20)

    The most obvious conclusion concerning the impact of Turkish Stream on the Southern Gas Corridor is that it may block direct passage of “next wave” Azerbaijani gas to southern Italy, but serve to accelerate the gasification of the Balkans and the revival of plans, by one route or another, to develop a pipeline connection between Turkey and Central Europe. With the European Commission already committed to the development of a variety of gas interconnectors in southeast Europe, the principal energy security issue confronting the European Union in this context is the development of a clear set of priorities as to...