South Stream not a rival to TANAP or Nabucco, energy minister says

South Stream not a rival to TANAP or Nabucco, energy minister says

ANAPA, Russia - Hürriyet Daily News
South Stream not a rival to TANAP or Nabucco, energy minister says

Hürriyet photo

The South Stream pipeline to transport gas to Europe is not a harbinger of the end of alternative pipeline projects that go through Turkey like the planned Nabucco line, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said today.

The southern corridor should be considered a package of projects, Yıldız told the press during a ceremony in Anapa, Russia, to begin construction of the South Stream pipeline.  “South Stream is an important ring in this chain,” he said.

Touching on projects such as TANAP, West Nabucco and ITGI, Taner said: “Although in the short term they might look like rival projects, in the mid and long term, they are not. As Europe needs more natural gas, there will be a need for three or four projects like that. This is why we have a positive approach to South Stream,” said Yıldız.

Turkey, however, has no intention of becoming a shareholder in South Stream, as it is already involved in TANAP and Nabucco West, he said.

South Stream underlines Turkey’s role as energy corridor: Spokesman

The realization of South Stream emphasizes Turkey’s role as an important energy corridor, Sebastian Saas, the spokesman of the consortium responsible for the project’s offshore section, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Russia started construction of the 16 billion-euro South Stream undersea gas pipeline project with an official ceremony attended by ministers of the countries partnering in the project.

The 925-kilometer undersea pipeline crosses across Turkish territorial waters before reaching Bulgaria and continuing onshore to Italy across Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia.

The project gives a jump on rival pipeline projects to carry gas to Southern Europe from Central Asia, such as the Trans Anatolia Pipeline (TANAP) project that will be realized jointly by Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız is expected to attend the ceremony that will take place later in the day in the Black Sea costal region of Anapa, where it will originate.

“Turkey is the essential part of the project and the cooperation and pragmatism of the Turkish government and its professionalism have always been appreciated,” said Saas.

It is up to the Turkish government to have the final say on the issue, but transit fees are not applicable as exclusive economic zones are considered semi-international waters according to international maritime law, said Saas.

The pipeline is a first in the sense that is both the longest and deepest undersea pipeline. “When you look to Blue Stream [between Turkey and Russia] and Nord Stream, one is the longest and the other is the deepest. But South Stream is the longest and deepest at the same time,” said Saas.

“It is also a masterpiece of cooperation when you consider the number of countries partnering in the project,” said Saas.

Companies from EU member countries, Italian ENI, French EDF and German BASF SE/Wintershall Holding are partnering with Gazprom for the project’s offshore section. The onshore section is owned by half Gazprom and half by the national company of the country it passes through.

South Stream will connect the world’s largest natural gas reserves in Russia with consumers in the EU, according to company officials.

But questions linger as to the onshore part of the project, since its status is unclear regarding EU regulations that bar suppliers from owning transportation capacity.

Saas did not answer questions on the issue, saying he represents the consortium responsible for the project’s offshore section only.