Turkstream passes milestone but Russia calls for EU guarantees

The  development  of the $6bn Turkish Stream pipeline running from Russia’s gas fields to Europe via the Black Sea and Turkey passed a major milestone last week when the first  section of the line destined to supply the Turkish domestic market was lowered to the sea bed at the intersection of Russian and Turkish waters; but Moscow is now calling on Brussels to provide it with legal guarantees that it will not obstruct  gas imports  before it is prepared to start work on a second pipeline running up to Turkey’s border with Greece.
In a symbolic show of unity the Pioneering Sprit – the world’s largest construction vessel –  laid the first of the pipe sections to cross  from the Russian to the Turkish exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of the Black Sea stamped with  flags from the two countries. The vessel then began the return voyage to Anapa on the Russian coast where it  was due to begin  laying the second pipeline. Both should come ashore at Kiyikoy some 100km west of Istanbul and come on stream in December 2019.
In what may be the beginning of another hand in all in a long-running   game of poker between Moscow and Brussels, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov took the occasion to demand that the  EU  guaranteed to not  put up the same obstacles that forced his country to pull out of an earlier attempt to provide southern and south-eastern Europe with its growing gas requirements when it used legislation enshrined in its Third Energy Package to pressure Bulgaria – where the so-called South Stream pipeline was due to come ashore – to pull out of the project.
It will also be factoring in  the fierce opposition that several central and eastern European EU member stages have put up to the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline under construction between Russia and Germany along the bed of the Baltic Sea.
Opposition to both lines is largely fuelled by a desire to wean  EU countries  off its dependence on Russia for its energy requirements but, while Brussels hopes that the trans-Anatolian TANAP pipeline that is due to start transporting gas from Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea fields  sometime next year may help reduce that dependency, Moscow will probably have calculated that this will not be enough to meet all their growing industrial and domestic needs. 

Source: tass
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