Russia may freeze work on the Turkish Stream pipeline project for several years in retaliation for the shooting down of a Russian air force jet over Syria, according to two sources within Gazprom. Freezing work on the pipeline – that would supply southeastern Europe with Russian gas via the bed of the Black Sea – would have a more symbolic than practical effect because the project is already beset by delays and doubts over its viability.
Gazprom sources said no decision had been taken inside the company about changes to the Turkish Stream schedule in response to the row with Ankara, but said they were awaiting instructions from President Vladimir Putin. “We’re expecting that the head of state, in all likelihood, could declare a freezing of Turkish Stream, or at least some kind of timeout,” a source within Gazprom told Reuters yesterday. “We are still hoping that Turkish Stream will be pushed back by a few years, rather than completely cancelled,” a second source said.
turkey looks for alternatives
Turkey would have no alternative but to turn to Azerbaijan and Iran for its gas if Russia carries out its threat to suspend supplies in retaliation for the shooting down of one of its plane over Syria last week, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said today. He called on Russia to be “more logical”, as Ankara was “not a cause of the crisis”.
Russia accounts for 50% of the total imported gas by Turkey, but Turkey also imports gas from Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan and has recently signed agreements with Algeria and Nigeria for the annual supply of 4.4bn m³ and 1.2bn m³ respectively. After Germany, Turkey is Russian second largest gas export market and is at the heart of the trading relationship between the two countries.