Despite Washington’s wiles, Russia is building the Northern and Turkish Streams

Pipeline ship
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Despite the wiles of Washington, Russia is building the Northern and Turkish streams.
The construction of gas pipelines together with the improvement of the domestic military-industrial complex was one of the pillars of Russian geopolitics under the presidency of Vladimir Putin.

by Kamran Hasanov, in Tsargrad
The significance of the energy sphere as an instrument of foreign policy is well known to those whose scientific activity is devoted to the strategic planning of mineral and raw material resources. It was the subject of Vladimir Putin’s Ph.D. thesis. It was with him that grandiose projects began to be implemented on the construction of such gas pipelines as the Nord Stream on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, the “Siberian Power” in China and the Turkish Stream in Turkey, with the prospect of gas transit to South and South-East Europe.

The construction of Nord Stream II has begun
The expansion of Russia’s influence in European energy consumption frightens any US administration. Under various pretexts and occasions, Washington is continually trying to foil multibillion-dollar Russian projects. The Ukrainian crisis of 2014 and the subsequent EU sanctions against the Russian energy and financial sectors have become one of the most serious attempts to block the Nord Stream II. That did not work – German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear that the Ukrainian problem is not related to the gas pipeline on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, which allows Germany to become a gas hub in the EU.

Then chemical provocations followed in Syria (the use of chemical weapons in the suburbs of Damascus) and Salisbury in Britain (the poisoning of Sergey Skripal). Separate US senators have proposed that the Europeans punish Moscow and refuse to participate in the Nord Stream II. But Merkel rebuffed this, although recently saying that the pipeline is impossible without taking into account the transit role of Ukraine.

The failure of the American plans is proved by the fact that yesterday in the German  port city of Lubmin they began preparing the construction site for Nord Stream II shore access. The construction of the administrative buildings is nearing completion, the territory is being cleaned and preparations for the installation works are in place, where the pipeline is to go ashore. In parallel, the legislative base of the project is being implemented: Germany and Finland have already issued permits for the construction of Nord Stream II. In the near future, agreement is expected from Denmark, Sweden and Russia.

Nord Stream II involves the construction of two strings of gas pipelines with an aggregate capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year. The only shareholder of Nord Stream 2 AG is Gazprom, which is covering half of the project costs – about 4.75 billion euros.

The other half of investments are allocated among European trans-national companies – Anglo-Dutch Shell, Austrian OMV, French Engie, German Uniper and Wintershall. The total cost of the project is 9.5 billion euros.

The first thread of the Turkish Stream is completed

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During the week, another important news item for Russian energy projects came in. On May 1, it became known that Gazprom had completed the construction of the first thread of the Turkish Stream off the Black Sea coast of Turkey. This part of the two-part project will be used to meet the energy needs of Turkey, which is the second export market for Gazprom. The construction of the second line, intended for re-export to the countries of South and South-Eastern Europe, will begin in the third quarter of this year.

Unlike the “Northern Stream”, the fate of the “Turkish Stream” was much more complicated, not to mention that its erection was a spontaneous reaction to Bulgaria blocking South Stream under the pressure of the European Commission. Less than a year has passed since the route for the Turkish Stream was defined in January 2015, when the project was frozen because of the Russian Su-24 bomber shot down by Turkey. According to the version of the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the military involved in the incident was connected with the refugee Fethullah Gülen in the US, whose people Ankara accused of murdering Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov. It would be naive if not to assert, then, at least, to not take into account a scenario of US involvement in creating conditions for Russian-Turkish conflict. The words of French President Emmanuel Macron that the Syrian bombing by the alliance has split Russia and Turkey, once again confirm how much NATO fears Erdogan’s “drift” towards Putin.

In spite of the open irritation of the US, sometimes even coming to threats of sanctions against Turkey, Erdogan is implementing large-scale projects with Russia. Last month, Putin and Erdogan launched the construction of the first Turkish nuclear power plant Akkuyu. The two countries also agreed to expedite the delivery of Russian S-400 air defense systems.

So the successful implementation of Nord Stream 2 with the Nordic countries and the Turkish Stream with Ankara proves that Putin is outplaying his opponents in the energy field. Which, of course, does not insure the Kremlin from further provocations such as the chemicals in Syria and Britain in order to dissuade Europe from a gas partnership with Russia.

When attempts to sell expensive American LNG to the European market don’t work, and unlikely to shake the positions of Gazprom, which plans to establish a new delivery records to the EU, Washington has no other option than sabotage.

Maybe it’s no accident that the new director of the CIA will be a woman who speaks Russian and Turkish?

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