Russia proposes making Turkey a hub for its gas supply
Russia has proposed making Turkey a hub for its gas supplies in the wake of suspected sabotage that has rendered most of the Nord Stream pipelines inoperable.
"If Turkey and our possible buyers in other countries are interested, we could consider building another gas pipeline system and creating a gas hub in Turkey for sales to third countries, especially, of course, the European ones, if they are interested in this, of course," Putin said.
"Together with Mr. Putin, we have instructed our ministry of energy and natural resources, and the relevant institution on the Russian side to work together," Erdogan added. "They will conduct this study. Wherever the most appropriate place is, we will hopefully establish this distribution centre here."
Russian president Vladimir Putin suggested the plan on the sidelines of a regional leaders' summit in Kazakhstan's capital Astana to his Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan was receptive to the idea and noted that both Russia and Turkey had ordered their energy ministries to begin studies on the proposal.
Also speaking this week, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller suggested that the project could involve laying more pipelines in parallel to the existing TurkStream pipeline that runs from Russia to Turkey under the Black Sea. The 31.5bn m3/year TurkStream pipeline currently consists of two strings – one that flows gas to Turkey and another that delivers supplies to southeast Europe. According to Miller, its transport capacity could be doubled to 63bn m3/yr.
This would represent a revival of the original plan for TurkStream, consisting of four strings. Russia halved its planned size in 2015, amid tensions with Turkey over events in Syria. It was also that year that Moscow decided to develop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Turkey has so far sought to maintain a neutral stance in the standoff between Russia and the West over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. Though a NATO member that has agreed to support bids by Sweden and Finland to join the defensive alliance, much to Russia's anger, it has avoided criticism of Russia and has not joined international sanctions against the country.Yet it also supports Ukraine's territorial integrity and has supplied drones to the Ukrainian armed forces.
Ankara has tried to serve in a mediating role, hosting ceasefire talks between Russia and Ukraine earlier this year.