South Stream to become Turkish Stream?
Posted on: 13/02/2015

The highly anticipated European pipeline project South Stream is still in serious jeopardy amongst continued EU tensions with Russia.

The €23.5 billion project, aimed at strengthening European energy security, was intended to run through the Black Sea into Bulgaria allowing it to transport Russian natural gas throughout Europe to nations including Serbia, Hungary and Ukraine.

Planned by the Russian Federation the project was cancelled last December by President Putin due to Western sanctions and lack of EU support for the project. Shortly afterwards Gazprom purchased all other shares in the South Stream project, reducing major holders Eni SPA, Wintershall and EDF Energy’s to zero. Saipem said it has received notification to “suspend all maritime activities” leaving several offshore owners with vessels in the Black Sea in an uncertain position.

Russia is currently responsible for providing 30% of Europe’s gas, however many European nations wish to distribute this more evenly across the EU to dilute dependency and ensure greater stability. Gazprom have started to consider redirecting the focus of the project to Turkey. The new ‘Turkey Stream’ which many believe actually makes more economic and political sense than the South Stream did, will mean that Russian gas is provided directly to Turkey- the second largest European consumer of natural gas, behind Germany.

The idea that Russia may be imminently preparing to redirect the South Stream project towards Turkey is supported by their recent actions. In buying up all remaining shares in the project and keeping the Italian engineering giant Saipem on standby, it appears Gazprom still have a trick up their sleeve which will ensure Gas is exported via the Black Sea to Europe, one way or another when the time is right.

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