As known, last week, the opening ceremony of the "Turkish Stream" natural gas pipeline was held in Istanbul.
The "Turkish Stream" project envisaging the delivery of the Russian natural gas to Turkey and its delivery to Europe passing through the territory of this country will also play an important role in the development of the relations between the two countries in the field of energy.
The "Turkish Stream" consisting of 2 lines with the gas volume of 15.75 bln cubic meters is an important project for the countries located in the south of Europe. Through this project, Russia's natural gas will be delivered to Europe passing through Turkey for the first time. Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Serbian President Alexander Vucic, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and representatives of a number of other countries attended the opening ceremony of the project which will play a significant role in the strengthening of Turkey’s positions as a central country in the field of energy.
It becomes clear that the region's role in the energy supply of the “old continent” rises.
It is relevant to remind that a while ago – on November 30, 2019, the opening ceremony of the part of TANAP gas pipeline connecting with Europe took place. TANAP, which is the main segment of the Southern Gas Corridor, will deliver the gas extracted from “Shah Deniz-2” gas-condensate field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea to European consumers. 3 segments of the Southern Gas Corridor – “Shah Deniz”, Southern Gas Pipeline and TANAP are successfully implemented. The execution of the fourth project – TAP is also nearing an end.
Thus, it is clear that the new energy cooperation format, that will play an important role in the energy security of Europe, emerges: Russia-Turkey-Azerbaijan.
It is noteworthy that in his interview to the Russian Federation's “Russia-24” TV channel on December 31, President Ilham Aliyev commented on the significance of the Southern Gas Corridor and the “Turkish Stream” and Russia-Turkey-Azerbaijan cooperation that will play an important role in the region’s and Europe’s energy security.
The head of state noted that the thesis about the rivalry between Russia and Azerbaijan in the energy sphere was groundless: “The energy projects implemented by us or Russia have never been a serious topic of discussions. In my opinion, the projects implemented by us are supported in both Russia and Azerbaijan.
When it comes to the “Turkish Stream”, we know how important this project is for both Russia, and Turkey. Both countries are our close partners. Therefore, we have supported this project from the beginning.
When it comes to the delivery of the Azerbaijani gas to European markets, after the Southern Gas Corridor project is executed, 10 bln cubic meters of gas will be delivered to European markets. Unlike the volume delivered to Russia, I do not remember the exact figure, but it is approximately 150-170 bln cubic meters on separate years – this is a very small volume. Therefore, the Southern Gas Corridor project is, surely, not a rival at all.
We have never considered it so either. This project will just give Azerbaijan an opportunity to deliver its gas reserves to the international markets. Some part of the gas is already delivered to the Turkish market via this corridor. In late November of this year (2019 is meant – V.M.), the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline, which is a part of the Southern Gas Corridor, already reached the Greek border. The construction of the gas pipeline from Turkey-Greece border to Italy has been completed for more than 90%. Thus, we are planning to completely commission the 3,500-km project next year (2020 is meant – V.M.).
It will also give us an opportunity to commission the new gas fields, and we will not think anymore that Azerbaijan is a country that has no access to open seas. Therefore, we have already reached the Black Sea, the Meditteranean Sea markets via the transport and energy corridors, and now, of course, we are reaching the Turkish and European gas markets in big volumes.”
The joint efforts and the forming cooperation format of Russia, Azerbaijan and Turkey are important for the partner countries themselves, and for Europe itself.
At the opening of the “Turkish Stream” project that will provide 15 million families with natural gas, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that everybody was witnessing the remarkable event that was significant not only for Russia and Turkey, but also for Europe.
Recalling the opening ceremony of the TANAP gas pipeline, Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan drew attention to the significance of this project: “A month ago, we together with my dear brother, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev commissioned one of the most strategic pipelines of the region – TANAP. 16 bln cubic meters of the Azerbaijani natural gas will be delivered to the Turkish and European consumers annually. In the upcoming years, we are planning to make the delivery volume of TANAP first to 24 bln cubic meters and later, to 31 bln cubic meters.”
Thus, the created gas delivery infrastructure leads to the formation of the common megaproject. It was not excluded in President Ilham Aliyev's interview either. The head of state replied to the reporter who said “The partnership may continue by purchasing the Russian gas with the purpose to deliver it to Europe”: “Yes, definitely. I consider that within the framework of the multilateral beneficial cooperation, we can implement a number of joint projects which seemed impossible earlier. I can give as an example Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway construction connecting the railways of Azerbaijan and Turkey.
Today, Russian suppliers deliver cargo from Russia to the Turkish ports, and firstly, to Mersin, through the Azerbaijani territory. Afterwards, there is a prospect of delivering cargo to European countries without transferring through railways. Today, we are already talking about the volumes of millions of tons. When we made the initiative of constructing the railway between Azerbaijan and Turkey, many thought that it would concern only cargo from China and Central Asia, but today, Russian cargo transporters already transport their cargo in this direction. Therefore, I do not exclude that the gas delivery infrastructure created by Russia and us, that will be summed in the territory of Turkey, will turn into the common infrastructure”.
Thus, the energy cooperation brings development, security, stability and prosperity to the region.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said about the importance of the cooperation at the opening ceremony of the part of the TANAP gas pipeline connecting with Europe: “Today, the Southern Gas Corridor connects 7 countries, and it is already an international cooperation project. This project will build bridges between the countries and pave the way for a bigger agreement. The 7 countries participating in the project will further work together and share its benefits. So, this project brings cooperation, stability and long-lasting understanding."