Gazprom will always be Gazprom

Gazprom will always be Gazprom

The contracted gas supply to Turkey made about 30 bln cubic meters in 2012, of which Turkey will select 27 bln.

Relations between Russia and Turkey have always based on gain, both now and during the Ottoman Empire epoch. However, political disagreements sometimes prevail over the economic ones - to some extent, though. Russia is already Turkey’s second largest trade partner, and it strives to achieve annual turnover worth $100 bln. In 2012, the turnover will hit $35 bln.

PanARMENIAN.Net - During Vladimir Putin’s visit, Rosatom Nuclear Energy State Corporation (Rosatom) reached an agreement with the Turkish Ministry of Energy on additional capitalisation of the authorized capital for construction of the first nuclear power station in Turkey expected to cost over $20 bln. Turkey is the third largest buyer of the Russian gas. In 2011, the Turkish government agreed with Gazprom OJSC to construct the South Stream gas pipeline; the ceremony of South Stream first welding takes place on December 7 in Anapa.

Since 2011, Turkey has increased import of the Russian gas by 44%. Speaking in Ankara, Putin did not rule out that Russia and Turkey may boost the resources of South Stream pipeline, and may also access the gas markets of third countries. This pipeline supplies Turkey with 16 bln cubic meters of natural gas. According to Putin, Turkey is becoming sort of an energy hub for Europe, but diversification of routes for raw material supply to key global markets still remains a major priority for Russia. In 2012, the volume of contracted gas supply to Turkey totaled 30 bln cubic meters, of which Turkey will select 27 bln.

According to media reports, Turkey asks for Russia’s gas supply to be increased by at least 3 bln cubic meters. “There are two variants here; either the Blue Stream capacities should be built up, and Gazprom considers the possibility to increase its volume of supply, or the South Stream may be used,” the Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak stated. So far, no final decision on increased gas supply from Russia to Turkey and neighbouring countries is taken, the issue is still under consideration, he added. Turkey is using gas as key fuel for the electric power plants, and plans to become third largest consumer of electric energy in Europe within 10 years by pressing Great Britain, and a trading center for energy carriers. Maybe, it will succeed in this with support of the Russian and Azerbaijani gas.

Meanwhile, Gazprom strives to decrease the dependence on EU which accounts for 80% of the company’s export. Currently, Gazprom supplies gas to Turkey in two directions, the western one (through Ukraine and Bulgaria) and the trans-Black Sea Blue Stream gas pipeline. So, what’s good for Gazprom, that’s good for Russia, too.

Following Putin’s visit, Gazprom may become the key sponsor of the Turkish Antalyaspor football team. Also, the Turkish business has much impact on the government; hence it can press the latter if the political relations start to deteriorate.

As to the Syrian issue, some disagreements still persist here. “Turkey wants to prompt Russia to distance itself from the government of Syrian president Bashar Assad,” Tagesspiegel reports. A day prior to president Putin’s one-day visit to Istanbul, the Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said if Russia changes its stance on the Syrian conflict, then Iran, Assad’s another major ally, will join its voice demanding that the Syrian president should resign. Still, Erdogan will hardly be very insistent during his meeting with Putin, “because Turkey would like to avoid tension in its ties with the major energy supplier.”

Most likely, Russia and Turkey are going to “bury the quarrel” caused by the forced landing in Ankara of the Syrian jet flying from Russia. The jet carried renovated spare parts for the radar station of the Syrian air defense. The cargo is still in Ankara, but the issue will not be discussed during Putin’s visit. Moscow and Ankara are trying to release the tension; the Kremlin called on Turkey to “forget” the incident with the detained jet heading from Russia to Damascus, while NATO assures Russia that the deployment aims “at defense only”.

Karine Ter-Sahakian
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