Russia's energy company Gazprom will extend the TurkStream natural gas pipeline's second string to Bulgaria, according to Russian newspaper Kommersant yesterday.
Kommersant claimed that Russian gas would flow from Turkey to Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovakia.
The start of natural gas deliveries to Bulgaria and Serbia is expected in 2020, and it is anticipated that gas flows to Hungary will begin in 2021. This route option through these countries means that natural gas deliveries via Ukraine would be avoided.
Ukraine, along with some European countries, opposes the TurkStream project's second line as they consider that it will contribute to an increase in Russia's monopoly on the European gas market.
The newly proposed route follows the same course as that of the canceled South Stream project in 2014. Although objections to the project in Europe are likely to continue, the Russian company is in compliance with the EU's competition law. This law promotes the maintenance of competition within the European Single Market by regulating anti-competitive conduct by companies to ensure that they do not create cartels and monopolies that would damage the interests of society.
The TurkStream natural gas pipeline, a landmark project to cement Turkish-Russian energy cooperation and boost regional energy security, will start delivering gas to the Turkish market by the end of 2019 with the pipe-laying works of the project's sea section complete. A ceremony marking the completion of the sea part of the project was held in Istanbul on Monday with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The project highlights Turkey's significant role as a gateway for European energy security, a position the country aims to secure in its ambition to establish an energy trading hub. Consisting of two lines, the TurkStream project has an annual gas delivery capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters, each with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters. While the first line will provide natural gas for the Turkish market, the second line will deliver the commodity to European countries. The TurkStream project is composed of an offshore segment of 930 kilometers and an onshore segment of 225 kilometers on Turkish land. The pipelines run between the Russian port of Anapa and Kıyıköy, in Turkish Thrace, and then as an underground pipe to the Turkish-European border.