Turkey ‘yet to issue permit for TurkStream land line’
Turkey has yet to issue a permit for Russia’s Gazprom to start building the land-based part of the TurkStream gas pipeline, three sources familiar with the matter said, stoking fears the strategically important project will be delayed.
If completed, the 7 billion euro ($8.6 billion) pipeline would allow Russia to reduce its reliance on Ukraine as a transit route for its gas supplies to Europe.
Ankara has authorized Gazprom, which has a de facto monopoly on Russian gas exports by pipeline, to start building two undersea sections of the project.
However, it has still not given Gazprom the green light for the land-based segment to ship Russian gas onward to southern Europe, the sources told Reuters.
“There is no permission from Turkey, which hampers talks about building the second line to Europe,” one of the sources familiar with the talks said.
TurkStream is designed to deliver more supplies to Turkey, the biggest buyer of Russian gas after Germany. More significantly for Moscow, it is also designed to extend across Turkey to the borders of southern Europe, thus opening up a new transit route for Russian gas.
Gazprom, which did not respond to a written request for comment, wants to complete the pipeline’s construction in 2019 so time is of the essence.
A second source said the permit problem might be related to talks between Gazprom and Turkish state company Botaş about a possible discount for Russian gas.
“It looks like Gazprom will have to give in (to Botaş),” the source said.
A third source in the Turkish energy industry told Reuters that Botas and Gazprom had yet to set up a joint venture they were meant to form for the land-based part of TurkStream.
This was why a construction permit had not yet been issued, the source added.
Botaş and the Turkish Energy Ministry declined to comment.