Today.Az » Analytics » Russia threatens buyers of Azerbaijani gas
14 April 2015 [11:45] - Today.Az

By Seymur Aliyev 

Facing with Europe’s desire to reduce the dependence on Russian gas, including the purchase of "blue fuel" from Azerbaijan, Moscow has passed to direct threats.

The Russian media reported that Gazprom has threatened those opposing the construction of the South Stream and Turkish Stream gas pipelines to terminate the supplies.
In this case, Gazprom intends to build the last gas pipeline and to stop gas supplies through Ukraine after 2019. Thus, Moscow intends to force to buy its gas from the southern direction.

Today, the Southern Gas Corridor project, initiated by Azerbaijan, is being implemented in this area. It envisages gas supply from Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to Europe. The advantage of this route compared to the Russian one is that the gas pipeline to Europe - TAP will be also constructed for it. Another advantage is that it is several years ahead of the Turkish Stream. Some contracts for the purchase of gas have been already signed.

First of all, Russia pays attention to the volumes. The Turkish Stream envisages supplying about 50 billion cubic meters of gas to the southern borders of Europe, whereas 10 billion cubic meters will be supplied through the Southern Gas Corridor at the first stage.

Attracting other suppliers to the Southern Gas Corridor becomes more relevant in this situation. First of all, the contractors from other fields of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan can be these suppliers. One must not exclude the supplies of Iranian and Iraqi gas via this route in the future. However, the EU is primarily responsible for solving all these questions. Russia threatens it now. Brussels must be most interested in attracting new suppliers to the Southern Gas Corridor.

On the other hand, knowing that the Southern Gas Corridor may be a direct alternative to Russian supplies in the future and that Russia will fail to leave its implementation behind, Moscow actually directly threats the buyers of Azerbaijani gas. Many countries covered by the Turkish Stream are the future buyers of gas from Azerbaijan.

Earlier, the resistance was carried out at the level of attempted influence via the politicians sympathetic to Moscow, such as the new Greek government, then, achieving no result, Russia started to threaten. At the same time, feeling the tension in relations between Brussels and Athens, facing with serious economic problems, Moscow wants to strengthen this split. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s recent visit to Russia can be cited as an example.

The effect of Moscow’s threats is directly dependent on the EU. If the EU is able to consolidate and develop a consensus concerning the problem and as a result - a unified system of resistance, it will be able to resist gas dependence on Russia. Otherwise, as Gazprom head said, Russia is ready to build the Turkish Stream first and then wait for the construction of the infrastructure in Europe. This will allow Gazprom to "hold a pause" if it is forced. In fact, Russia intends to worry Europe into doing this.

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