Construction of the second line of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline will be completed by 2020, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after talks with the Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister of Bulgaria Ekaterina Zakharieva.
Lavrov noted that Bulgaria told Russia about the start of the construction of infrastructure for transporting gas through the second branch of the Turkish Stream. "According to the minister, the corresponding ceremony was held this very day with the participation of the Bulgarian Prime Minister and the Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria. The partners noted that the work will be completed by 2020, as planned," TASS cited the Russian top diplomat as saying.
The Turkish Stream pipeline was designed to consist of two branches with a length of over 900 kilometers and a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters each. One of them, finished in May 2018, is to carry Russian gas to Turkey, while the other is to transit gas to southern and southeastern Europe through Turkey and is to be finished in 2019.
The director of the Centre for International Energy Markets Studies, the Institute of Pricing and Regulation of Natural Monopolies at the Higher School of Economics, Vyacheslav Kulagin, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the launch of the Turkish Stream's second line will provide an opportunity to deliver gas to southern and central Europe. "At present, this region receives gas primarily through Ukrainian transit. The second line of the Turkish Stream will allow for the supply of Russian gas through the Black Sea. In addition, there are certain opportunities for gasification of the adjacent territories, which creates a concomitant increase in gas consumption. For Russia, in turn, the second string will give access to Bulgaria, Serbia and other countries, including Austrian hubs. Therefore, the benefit from this pipeline will be comprehensive," he stressed.
"The European infrastructure is not yet ready. However, in this regard, there are no serious obstacles for the second line of the Turkish Stream, everything is going as planned," the director of the Centre for International Energy Markets Studies, the Institute of Pricing and Regulation of Natural Monopolies at the Higher School of Economics added.
"In general, capacity expansion is underway in Europe. Some works will be done in 2020, some minor changes are planned for a later period. Everything is expected to be completed within 2-3 years to bring the project to full capacity. And the second line will be partially loaded already next year," Vyacheslav Kulagin stressed.
A senior analyst of 'Uralsib', Alexei Kokin, agreed that the primary importance of the second line of Turkish Stream will be the partial departure of Gazprom and its European partners from Ukrainian transit. "In this case, the Ukrainian direction will not be fully unloaded for now. The fact is that this will require the launch of at least four lines instead of two," he explained.