Russia to start construction of Turkish Stream in June


© Sputnik/ Taras Litvinenko

Russian Gazprom has signaled that it will move forward with the construction of the Turkish Stream, regardless of potential political obstacles in Europe, planning to cease using its route through Ukraine in 2019, Stratfor reported.

According to US private intelligence company Stratfor, Russia's Gazprom has clearly signaled that it will push ahead the construction of the Turkish Stream, calling upon Italian energy firm Saipem and Germany's Europipe to start working on the project.

"Russia said it plans to start constructing the underwater portion of the pipeline in June. Gazprom has already told Europe that it plans to cease using its current export route through Ukraine in 2019 and shift those natural gas supplies to the Turkish Stream pipeline," Stratfor analysts emphasized.

Indeed, Moscow has resumed a contract with Europipe for 150,000 metric tons of pipe, and notified a subsidiary of Saipem that it could begin constructing the 63 billion-cubic-meter pipeline in the Black Sea.

While European experts express their doubts regarding Russia's ability to boost the project if Europe does not build its part of pipeline infrastructure to receive natural gas from the Turkish border, Moscow has already invested enough to begin construction on the first of Turkish Stream's four parallel pipelines.

Although building the entire Turkish Stream pipeline project will be a complicated process and Moscow may face a number of political and financial difficulties while implementing the project, "Russia's approach reveals a nuanced, low-risk plan for the pipeline," the analysts pointed out.

"Turkey is one of Russia's most important natural gas markets in the long term, and its natural gas demand has more than doubled over the past 10 years. By the mid 2020s, Turkey's natural gas demand could amount to the entire volume carried by the first two legs of Turkish Stream, and it will almost certainly need the amount of natural gas carried by the first leg even sooner," Stratfor stressed.

According to the analysts, by implementing the Turkish Stream the Kremlin will kill two birds with one stone. If European countries build the infrastructure, Russia will immediately jump at the opportunity to bolster its natural gas supplies to Europe. If not, the new pipeline will allow Moscow to boost its exports to the swiftly growing Turkish market.