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War against gas pipelines from Russia: Will they be “killed” one after another?

US Vice President Joe Biden. Photo: rbc.ru

The media coverage of the Nord Stream-2 and Turkish Stream is different. U.S. has led the campaign against construction of the gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea and Vice President Joe Biden openly called it a bad deal for Europe. The Baltic states echo the United States. The Swedish government does not welcome the project, while Poland is directly stalling it. Poland’s anti-monopoly watchdog inherently sought to prevent the establishment of a JV by Russia’s Gazprom and five large European companies. Eventually, the companies withdrew their application for establishment of the JV and now break head over new forms of cooperation with the Russian holding. Meantime, the situation with the Turkish Stream is different. Immediately after Moscow and Ankara resumed talks, Bulgaria expressed a desire to revise the South Stream or join the Turkish project. Greece said it is ready to build a gas pipeline to transmit the Russian gas from Turkey via its territory. Yet, both the countries said they are ready for the project if the European Commission approves it. Earlier, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker sent a letter to Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov supporting the supply of the Russian gas to Europe via the planned Bulgarian Balkan Gas Hub. Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, Director DG Energy, European Commission, says the hub may start operating without Russian gas, but later this may affect its competitive ability. That is why, he said, it would be good if the Russian side joined the project.

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Why they create obstacles to the Nord Stream-2 while making statements favorable to Gazprom concerning the South Stream. On the one hand, the current option of the two pipelines of the Turkish Stream will supply about 20 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe, while the extension of the Baltic gas pipeline may increase the transit by 55 billion cubic meters of gas. On the other hands, Brussels, in fact, has the same attitude to both the projects, experts say. The only difference is that the projects are at various stages of implementation and their European lobbyists have too different weight.

“Nord Stream-2 is being implemented: tenders are underway, contracts are signed, and documents are being prepared for the countries concerned. Therefore, this project is more dangerous for the opponents of the Russian-European gas deal. Consequently, they have focused on it,” says Alexey Grivach, deputy director of the National Energy Security Fund. “As for the Turkish Stream, Brussels cannot influence it. Another matter, the EU countries (Greece or Bulgaria – editor’s note). These countries are at the earliest stage of preparations and it is easier to press on them. With due respect to Greece, it cannot be compared with such heavyweight as Germany that is supporting the Nord Stream-2.”

To recall, after numerous gas conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, Gazprom adopted a decision to minimize the transit via Ukraine. Afterwards, in 2011, the Nord Stream was built. Now, they work to extend it and have resumed the talks on the construction of the Turkish Stream instead of the South Stream that was to run via Bulgaria but for the rejection of the European Commission.

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