Gazprom Will Always Be Gazprom

Karine Ter-Sahakian

December 10, 2012

The contracted gas supply to Turkey made about 30 bln cubic meters
in 2012, of which Turkey will select 27 bln.

Relations between Russia and Turkey have always based on gain,
both now and during the Ottoman Empire epoch. However, political
disagreements sometimes prevail over the economic ones – to some
extent, though. Russia is already Turkey’s second largest trade
partner, and it strives to achieve annual turnover worth $100 bln. In
2012, the turnover will hit $35 bln.

PanARMENIAN.Net – During Vladimir Putin’s visit, Rosatom Nuclear Energy
State Corporation (Rosatom) reached an agreement with the Turkish
Ministry of Energy on additional capitalisation of the authorized
capital for construction of the first nuclear power station in Turkey
expected to cost over $20 bln. Turkey is the third largest buyer of
the Russian gas. In 2011, the Turkish government agreed with Gazprom
OJSC to construct the South Stream gas pipeline; the ceremony of
South Stream first welding takes place on December 7 in Anapa.

Since 2011, Turkey has increased import of the Russian gas by 44%.

Speaking in Ankara, Putin did not rule out that Russia and Turkey may
boost the resources of South Stream pipeline, and may also access the
gas markets of third countries. This pipeline supplies Turkey with 16
bln cubic meters of natural gas. According to Putin, Turkey is becoming
sort of an energy hub for Europe, but diversification of routes for raw
material supply to key global markets still remains a major priority
for Russia. In 2012, the volume of contracted gas supply to Turkey
totaled 30 bln cubic meters, of which Turkey will select 27 bln.

According to media reports, Turkey asks for Russia’s gas supply to
be increased by at least 3 bln cubic meters. “There are two variants
here; either the Blue Stream capacities should be built up, and
Gazprom considers the possibility to increase its volume of supply,
or the South Stream may be used,” the Russian Minister of Energy
Alexander Novak stated. So far, no final decision on increased gas
supply from Russia to Turkey and neighbouring countries is taken,
the issue is still under consideration, he added. Turkey is using
gas as key fuel for the electric power plants, and plans to become
third largest consumer of electric energy in Europe within 10 years
by pressing Great Britain, and a trading center for energy carriers.

Maybe, it will succeed in this with support of the Russian and
Azerbaijani gas.

Meanwhile, Gazprom strives to decrease the dependence on EU which
accounts for 80% of the company’s export. Currently, Gazprom supplies
gas to Turkey in two directions, the western one (through Ukraine
and Bulgaria) and the trans-Black Sea Blue Stream gas pipeline. So,
what’s good for Gazprom, that’s good for Russia, too.

Following Putin’s visit, Gazprom may become the key sponsor of the
Turkish Antalyaspor football team. Also, the Turkish business has
much impact on the government; hence it can press the latter if the
political relations start to deteriorate.

As to the Syrian issue, some disagreements still persist here. “Turkey
wants to prompt Russia to distance itself from the government of Syrian
president Bashar Assad,” Tagesspiegel reports. A day prior to president
Putin’s one-day visit to Istanbul, the Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan
said if Russia changes its stance on the Syrian conflict, then Iran,
Assad’s another major ally, will join its voice demanding that the
Syrian president should resign. Still, Erdogan will hardly be very
insistent during his meeting with Putin, “because Turkey would like
to avoid tension in its ties with the major energy supplier.”

Most likely, Russia and Turkey are going to “bury the quarrel” caused
by the forced landing in Ankara of the Syrian jet flying from Russia.

The jet carried renovated spare parts for the radar station of the
Syrian air defense. The cargo is still in Ankara, but the issue will
not be discussed during Putin’s visit. Moscow and Ankara are trying
to release the tension; the Kremlin called on Turkey to “forget”
the incident with the detained jet heading from Russia to Damascus,
while NATO assures Russia that the deployment aims “at defense only”.