Recently the subject of realization of the Turkish Stream project is actively discussed in mass media. Let’s remind that it is about construction of the gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey on the bottom of the Black Sea.

There are no questions concerning the first gas thread with capacity 15.75 billion cubic meters a year, as it is intended for the Turkish consumers. And many experts drop a hint of doubt concerning prospects of the second thread of similar power. The matter is that it is intended for consumers of the countries of Southern Europe and it seems that the route of passing of the new gas pipeline on the territory of the European countries formally is not determined yet. Many of us remember the South Stream project which is to provide the countries of Southern Europe with Russian gas. But as a result it was cancelled. Let’s try to understand this situation.

Fundamental difference between Turkish Stream and South Stream consists in power. South Stream was planned for 4 threads with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas each. Turkish Stream is twice less and on an entrance on the territory of the European Union is 4 times less. Besides, gas pipelines within the South Stream project in the territory of the European countries should be property of joint ventures of Gazprom and the local gas companies. This fact was not pleasant very much to the European Commission. Concerning continuation of Turkish Stream, Gazprom did not create any joint ventures in the territory of the EU, so it will not own gas pipelines. How will gas go?

Now supply of the Russian gas to Turkey goes along two routes: through Blue Stream gas pipeline (lies on the bottom of the Black Sea) and through an overland route, which passes across the territory of Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria. Power of Blue Stream makes 16 billion cubic meters of gas a year. Last year Gazprom delivered to Turkey 29 billion cubic meters of gas. Therefore, not less than 13 billion cubic meters of gas passed across the territory of Bulgaria, neighboring Turkey.

Turkish Stream is to work in 2019. It means that all Russian gas will be able to come to Turkey directly and Bulgaria will lose the status of a transit country. What will happen then to the gas transmission system of Bulgaria? It is obvious that the authorities of this country will look for possibility of its use. It occurs already now. The Bulgarian authorities agreed that they will receive from Turkey 1 billion cubic meters of gas annually from the Azerbaijani Shah-Denise field within the Southern Gas Corridor project. Deliveries are to begin in 2020. Therefore, the gas transmission system of Bulgaria will be remade under transportation of gas from the south to the north by this time and not vice versa, as it works now. Last year Gazprom delivered 3.3 billion cubic meters of gas to Bulgaria. If this country begins to buy 1 billion from Azerbaijan, the remained 2.3 billion cubic meters should be taken from Russia. It means that this volume will also go from Turkey. It means that all gas transmission system of Bulgaria will start working in the opposite direction.

Now it is examined the project of construction of a small (105 km) connecting gas pipeline between Bulgaria and Serbia that the Russian gas from Turkey could get to this Balkan country. Last year Serbia bought 2.1 billion cubic meters of gas from Gazprom. At the end of January of the current year the president of Serbia Alexander Vuchich declared that the construction gas pipeline Bulgaria — Serbia will begin in June-July of this year. «We build an interconnector between Bulgaria and Serbia with support and financial aid of the EU», he noted.

After Serbia gas from the second string of «The Turkish stream» is planned to deliver to Hungary. The gas pipeline between Hungary and Serbia already exists, it needs to be modernized and started in the opposite direction only. In 2017 Hungary bought 6.9 billion cubic meters of Russian gas. Thus, gas also will be able to come to Hungary from the North — from Austria which will become the recipient of gas from Nord Stream — 2.

Thus, the second string of Turkish Stream does not mean large-scale construction of the new gas transmission system in the territory of the EU. In this case it is about modernization of already available infrastructure and creation of rather small connecting gas pipelines. Greece is planned as one more consumer of Turkish Stream gas. In 2017 it bought 2.9 billion cubic meters from Gazprom. But this country also, as well as Bulgaria, expects to receive 1 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas starting with 2020. The infrastructure for these deliveries will be created within «Southern gas corridor» and the remained gas it will be able to deliver with Gazprom.

It is no secret that Azerbaijan unlike Russia is not the world leader in reserves of natural gas. For this reason Azerbaijan is compelled to buy Russian gas. It is quite probable that in process of depletion of deposits «Shah-Denise» Russian gas will start arriving along «Southern gas corridor».

As an alternative to the Russian gas Turkmen gas could be used for filling of «Southern gas corridor». But in order that it got to Azerbaijan it is necessary to construct a gas pipeline on the bottom of the Caspian Sea. So far it is impossible as Turkmenistan, Iran and Azerbaijan could not conclude the agreement on division of the shelf of the Caspian Sea. Besides, gas which can go from Turkmenistan will be very expensive as fields lie very deeply and contain a lot of hydrogen sulfide which needs to be separated at gas-processing plants. Gazprom has such a field in Astrakhan region. Stocks allow extracting more than 100 billion cubic meters of gas annually but it is extracted 10 times smaller, because prime cost of gas is very high. Even proximity to consumers does not rescue the project’s economy. Therefore the European consumers hardly should account on «cheap Turkmen gas». Especially as in recent years Turkmenistan actively increases supply of gas to China. And recently construction of the gas pipeline Turkmenistan — Afghanistan — Pakistan — India began. It turns out that Turkmen gas prefers going east but not west.