Gazprom ‘warns’ Turkey on gas deal
Moscow - Reuters
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller applauds during the firm’s annual meeting June 29. AFP photo
Gazprom on June 29 sent a warning signal to Turkey over Ankara’s agreement with Azerbaijan to build a gas pipeline to Europe, a rival to the Moscow-backed planned South Stream trunk.
Gazprom said Turkey demanded additional gas supply from Russia after an explosion on the Turkey-Iran natural gas pipeline June 28, which cut the gas flow. The statement said Gazprom has increased gas supply to Turkey, but added that if the Trans-Anatolian project is “completed as planned in 2018, Turkey could then apply for help to Baku,” according to Gazprom’s e-mailed statement.
Turkey, Gazprom’s second largest customer, and Azerbaijan signed a deal on June 26 to build $7 billion Trans-Anatolian natural gas pipeline (TANAP) to carry Azeri gas to European markets. The TANAP rivals the South Stream natural gas pipeline project, which is supported by Russia, and goes through Turkey.
“Gazprom has shown that it is a dependable supplier by responding to demands of its trade partners in Turkey in cases of technical failures or cold snaps,” said Sergei Kuprianov, the spokesman of Gazprom, June 29.
Gazprom is anxiously watching the latest developments in Azerbaijan, whose gas fields are the most developed new non-Russian sources of natural gas that can be pumped to the European Union through pipelines.
Moscow is keen on keeping Azerbaijan, its former Soviet satellite, within the orbit of influence and is trying to secure access to the country’s vast gas riches, a bone of contention between Europe and Russia.
In a related development, which undermines Russian grip on the former Soviet Republic, Azeri’s Shah Deniz II consortium, led by BP Plc and Statoil, on June 28 selected the Nabucco West pipeline for one of two possible routes to carry Caspian gas to western Europe.