Gazprom could spend half a billion dollars on Turkey

Deputy director last week defended a stronger role in the European gas market.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Nov. 7, 2016 at 9:17 AM
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MOSCOW, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Russian natural gas company Gazprom could spend more than a half billion dollars on its latest pipeline efforts in Turkey, media reported Monday

Russian news agency Tass reports Gazprom aims to spend more than $595 million in Turkey this year.

Gazprom is looking at Turkey as an alternative to Ukraine, through which most of the Russian gas pipelines run. Geopolitical issues associated with Ukraine make legacy routes risky and Turkey's geographic position makes it desirable as a bridge to transport energy resources from Central Asian suppliers to the European market.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Turkish counterpart during a special session of the 23rd World Energy Congress last month. Alongside geopolitical issues related to the civil war in Syria, where both sides have varying allegiances, the two leaders discussed new life for the Turkish Stream pipeline.

Turkish Stream, which mirrors the route for the now-abandoned South Stream project, would run under the Black Sea to Turkey and then to the European market. South Stream was scrapped because of concerns about Russian business practices expressed by some European countries.

Turkey is also slated to host a string of pipelines carrying natural gas from Azerbaijan as part of a European diversification scheme. Elsewhere, European leaders in July proposed $292 million for energy projects in the Baltic region. By ending energy isolation for Baltic states, the European body said the strategy is in line with regional efforts to improve energy security.

Last week, Gazprom Deputy Chairman Alexander Medvedev said European gas consumption was on the rise and more Russian gas was necessary. According to him, some markets in Europe can expect the share of natural gas on their market to exceed 80 percent.

Gazprom's efforts in Europe have been met with concerns from antitrust regulators wary of a Russian company that controls both the supplies and the networks that carry them.

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