Turkey strikes gas deal with Russia

Russia will reduce the cost of gas it supplies to Turkey by 6% beginning next year, President Vladimir Putin has said.

Turkish daily ‘Zaman’ reports that Turkey would be buying an additional 3 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia. Last year, 13.7 bcm of gas was pumped to Turkey via Blue Stream.

Addressing a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Putin also said that if the EU opposed the South Stream gas pipeline project, Russia would abandon it. He said that the  European Commission was reluctant to give the go-ahead to the project to supply southern Europe with gas via Bulgaria, bypassing Ukraine.

The South Stream pipeline, costing $40 billion, was to cross the Black Sea to southern Europe via Bulgaria. Gazprom intended to supply southern Europe next year.

Economic sanctions have been implemented by the West against Russia over the Ukraine conflict and Europe also wants to be less dependent on Russian gas supplies.

“We see that obstacles are being set up to prevent its fulfilment,” Putin said. “If Europe does not want to carry it out, then it will not be carried out…We think this is against Europe’s economic interests and is causing damage.”

Putin said Bulgaria was under pressure from the European Union, which gets a third of its gas supply from Russia.

“If Bulgaria is deprived of the possibility of behaving like a sovereign state, let them demand the money for the lost profit from the European Commission,” he said.

To avoid disruption of supplies and to bypass Ukraine, Russia has built the Nord Stream gas pipeline directly to Germany across the Baltic Sea.

He said Russia was potentially ready to build a gas hub on the Turkish-Greek border to supply Europe with gas to compensate for the loss of South Stream.

“We are ready to not only expand the Blue Stream, but to build another pipeline system to supply the growing demand of the Turkish economy, and if it is deemed justified, to set up an additional gas hub for the South European consumers on Turkish territory, near the border with Greece,” he said.

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