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Dec 08 2018

Russia using multi-line Turkish stream to exert influence over Europe - U.S. State Dept.

Russia is using both Nord stream 2 and a multi-line Turkish stream to try to circumvent transit through Ukraine and take away the incentive of countries in southern and central Europe, as well as the Balkans, said Sandra Oudkirk, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Energy Resources.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin last month participated in a ceremony in İstanbul marking the completion of the sea section of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline. The TurkStream, when completed, will consist of two lines with the capacity to transport 31.5 billion cubic metres worth of gas from Russia. The first line will carry 15.75 billion cubic metres of gas to Turkey while the second line, which Washington has voiced its opposition to, will transfer Russian gas to Europe through Turkey.

‘’The U.S. is opposed to multiple lines of Turkish stream because it’s clearly designed to circumvent transit through Ukraine… The Ukrainian government views the current transit as a break on Russian aggression in their own territory. The Turkish Stream 2,3 or 4 would be detrimental both to the Ukranian and European energy security, because it wouldn’t necessarily crowd out the southern gas corridor volumes... but it would take away the incentive of the countries in Southern and central Europe and the Balkans,’’ Oudkirk said during a panel on Turkey's energy sector by the Atlantic Council on Saturday.

Speaking to Turkey’s drilling in the gas-rich Mediterranean, Oudkirk stressed that the United States countries efforts to produce and explore resources in their exclusive economic zones and noted it would be a long time before any profit will be yielded following a possible exploration.

‘’Perhaps exploration will allow for a UN brokered comprehensive settlement on the island,’’ she said, referring to the divided island Cyprus, whose gas-rich eastern Mediterranean shores are  are stoking old tensions in the region.

 

Mithat Rende, Turkey’s former ambassador to the OECD, spoke to Turkey’s stance on drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, noting that Block 10 is out of Turkey’s declared continental shelf and four of the Greek Cypriot blocks overlap with the Turkish declared continental shelves.

‘’We have made it clear that Turkey under no circumstances will allow drilling activities in these areas,’’ Rende said.

The former ambassador to OECD said if Turkey strikes gas when drilling in the overlapping areas, this will ultimately be a ‘’game changer.’

Turkey, Greece and Southern Cyprus hold very different viewpoints on delineation of maritime jurisdiction zones. Turkey and Greece base theirs on the continental shelf, while Southern Cyprus’s claim is based on an EEZ.

On October 18, Turkish survey vessel Barbaros started conducting oil and gas exploration in an area off western Cyprus that overlaps with the EEZ claimed by Southern Cyprus.