The TurkStream gas pipeline is set to become fully operational by the end of 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday.
The TurkStream project is an export gas pipeline consisting of two 930-kilometer lines each with a capacity to carry 15.75 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
The pipelines cross beneath the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and further extend to the latter's borders with neighboring European countries.
TurkStream's first line is intended for gas supplies to the Turkish market, while the second will supply gas to south and southeastern Europe.
Russian gas giant Gazprom is exploring different options regarding further transportation of the TurkStream gas to Europe, Putin told the Serbian dailies, Politika and Vecernje Novosti, prior to his visit to Belgrade.
"One of the options is to transport fuel via Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary to the gas hub in Baumgarten, Austria. In this case, Serbia will not only use Russian gas but also facilitate its transit. This will greatly benefit the Serbian economy, help create new jobs and strengthen energy security in your country and, more broadly, in central and southeastern Europe," he said. A final decision will be made depending on the position of the EU.
Russia needs guarantees "that plans to extend the TurkStream will not be thwarted by an arbitrary political decision on the part of Brussels," said Putin.
The pipe-laying process of the project was completed last November and a ceremony on the occasion was held in Istanbul with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Putin. The TurkStream and Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline projects are being implemented as planned, Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom deputy chairman said Tuesday.
Medvedev told European Gas Conference officials in an interview prior to the conference, which will run from Jan. 28 to Jan. 30 in Vienna, that at the end of 2018 Gazprom completed the TurkStream's offshore section in the Black Sea, and confirmed that pipeline construction entered its final stage.
"In late 2019, the pipeline will be brought into operation to ensure gas supplies for Turkey as well as countries in southeastern Europe," he said.
Medvedev added that pipe laying in the Baltic Sea for the Nord Stream 2 is ongoing.
The Nord Stream 2 is a 1,230 kilometer-long pipeline project that plans to carry 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, enough to supply 26 million European households. "To date, a total of more than 300 kilometers of pipes have been laid – mainly in the coastal area of Germany, its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, as well as in the exclusive economic zone of Finland. We assume that the Nord Stream 2 will be commissioned at the end of 2019," he said.
The senior Gazprom official said that natural gas can and must play a key role in Europe's shift to a low-carbon economy.
"Gazprom has presented its vision of how natural gas can contribute to European climate neutrality by 2050. Natural gas can substitute coal in power generation and oil products in transportation. Thus, Europe will be able to meet its 2020 climate targets," he said.
Medvedev also lauded hydrogen as a new technological solution to support Europe's climate commitments.
"The use of methane-hydrogen fuel in energy and transport without costly infrastructural changes will result in 25-35 percent emissions reduction, thus allowing Europe to achieve the 2030 climate goals. Finally, a full-scale transition to hydrogen from methane offers the feasibility of the EU's challenging 2050 targets," Medvedev added.
He said that along with partners from the gas industry, Gazprom is ready to provide the continent with natural gas and new technologically-intensive forms of energy like hydrogen, which he considers as "important in getting the gears of the European economy moving towards a carbon neutral future."