Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the Turkish Stream pipeline project was on the table during talks that were held between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin as a part of the G20 summit in Antalya. Novak announced that the agreement on the project would be signed shortly.
Delivering a press conference during the G20 summit, Novak said Putin and Erdoğan decided to continue preparations for the Turkish Stream project, which is planned to carry Russian natural gas to Europe via the Turkish-Greek border with a capacity of 63 billion cubic meters, following the formation of a new government in Turkey. "As soon as the new government is formed, we will continue work to complete the Turkish Stream with Turkey's new energy minister," he added.
Novak said it would be hard to estimate when the agreement would be inked; however, Moscow thought the agreement process would not last long. Underlining that both parties are aware that "the faster they act, the better it will be," the minister said it was unlikely that the agreement would be signed during the Turkey and Russia High Level Cooperation Council meeting, which is scheduled for Dec. 15 in Russia. According to Novak, this is because a new energy minister has not yet been assigned in Turkey. Novak also announced that bilateral talks between Turkey and Russia during the G20 summit did not include a discount on natural gas that Turkey imports from Russia.
Turkey previously declared that the country has been in favor of starting the first line, which has a 15.75-billion-cubic-meter capacity, but the project could not start due to Turkey and Russia failing to reach an agreement over a proposed discount on natural gas. The main conflict behind the disagreement has been Russia's attitude toward the current price applied to gas sales to Turkey. Turkey and Russia agreed to a 10.25 percent discount on Turkey's purchases last December; however, almost one year after an agreement was reached, the discounted prices are yet to be implemented.
Political disagreements will
not prevent Turkish Stream
Alexey Miller, the CEO of Russian energy giant Gazprom, said political differences between Turkey and Russia would not prevent the realization of the Turkish Stream, and underlined that the project might reach the signing phase in a very short time. "We agreed with our Turkish counterparts over the transition of the natural gas pipeline through the same corridor as the South Stream beneath the Black Sea. All research and preparations for the South Stream project have already been completed. Therefore, the Turkish Stream might be realized in a very short time. It all depends on the signing of the agreement," Miller said.