Europe on Its Own, Says Gazprom, as South Stream Shelved

A ceremony in October, 2013, marked the symbolic start of the construction of the Bulgarian section of Gazprom's South Stream pipeline, which is now being dicontinued.


MOSCOW (Russia Today)—With the end of the South Stream pipeline project, Russia will have to adapt to a new market where it will no longer provide gas delivery to end users in Europe, Aleksey Miller, CEO of Russian gas giant Gazprom, said in an interview confirming the closure of the South Stream project.

Russia’s state-owned Gazprom has given up plans for its long-awaited South Stream gas pipeline to Europe after being unsuccessful in working around European Union laws that prohibit a single company from controlling the extraction, transportation, and sale of energy resources together.

Now Gazprom is going to use partially constructed South Stream infrastructure in Russian territory to build a new gas pipeline across the Black Sea to Turkey, with an annual capacity of 63 billion cubic meters.

“Our strategy towards the European [gas] market is undergoing fundamental changes. The decision to halt the South Stream marks the beginning of the end of our previous market model, when we aimed at ultimate customer delivery in Europe,” the head of Gazprom, Aleksey Miller, told Rossiya 1 Channel in an interview.

“Love cannot be forced,” Miller said. “If a customer doesn’t want doorstep delivery, then he apparently has to put on clothes and go shopping, and if it is winter time – he’ll have to bundle up and go out with any package he wants,” Miller said.

“Shopping” will now be done at the tie-in facility, which will be a trading platform on the Turkish-Greek border, indicated Miller. Unlike the South Stream, the new project does not fall under the EU’s anti-monopoly regulations.

South Stream ‘definitely over’
The head of Gazprom confirmed that the South Stream project is closed once and for all, blaming the EU for “openly blocking” the pipeline’s construction by allegedly prohibiting Bulgaria from constructing its part of the pipeline.

Sofia in June announced its refusal to allow the construction of the South Stream in Bulgaria, which would connect the pipeline to the rest of Europe. Russian officials attribute the decision to pressure from Brussels, who has shown opposition to the South Stream since relations with Moscow soured following the Ukranian crisis.

“The project has been stalled for six month now,” acknowledged Miller. “To say now that the ball is on the Russian side is nothing else but shifting the blame.”

Russia wasted years and “some money” promoting the South Stream project, yet acquired certain knowledge and experience, Miller said.

“Now we can say that we do know European bureaucracy very well. There’s no guarantee that the same [attitude] won’t recur in a month or two, or half a year’s time,” he added.

Turkey will now control ‘Europe’s gas valve’
The new gas contract with Gazprom endows Ankara with economic and political benefits, while Europe and primarily Bulgaria lost billions in investments, Miller contended.

More specifically, Miller argues that Bulgaria lost more than 6,000 new jobs and over $3 billion of investment, relinquishing a profitable status as a transit entity that promised the country a guaranteed annual income. All this now goes to Turkey, Miller says, together with all gas volumes being transported via Bulgaria right now.

Once the construction of the new pipeline is over – transit through Bulgaria will be discontinued, stressed Miller.

“The EU and the European Commission simply presented Turkey with a ‘gas valve’. I believe Turkey might use it in its dialogue with Europe. And we got a new strategic partner in the gas business,” the Gazprom CEO concluded, noting that as of year-end results Turkey is becoming the monopoly’s no. 2 partner in Europe, after Germany, which gets Russian gas via the exclusive Nord Stream pipeline.

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13 Comments

  1. Armenian said:

    Russia and Turkey working closer together only spells bad news for Armenia– especially because of Turkey’s eagerness to include Azerbaijan into everything they do.

    This is why siding too much with Russia, and bizarrely worshiping and praising everything they do (Avetis) puts us in an extremely dangerous position. We put all of our faith into the “Orthodox Brother” who we thought would “protect us” in our dangerous neighborhood, only to have Russia gear up to throw us under the bus at the right place at the right time. Our kekhchatsats and serf-like nature will has always made and will always make us secondary in the eyes of the Kremlin as Russia crawls into bed with its like-minded authoritarian buddies, Erdogan and Aliyev.

    No worries, though. Maybe if we continue begging God to bless Mother Russia, our luck my turn around. On your knees, kiddies! Time to pray for a foreign policy miracle!

  2. Armenian said:

    Russia and Turkey working closer together only spells bad news for Armenia– especially because of Turkey’s eagerness to include Azerbaijan into everything they do.

    This is why siding too much with Russia, and bizarrely worshiping and praising everything they do (Avetis) puts us in an extremely dangerous position. We put all of our faith into the “Orthodox Brother” who we thought would “protect us” in our dangerous neighborhood, only to have Russia gear up to throw us under the bus at the right place at the right time. Our kekhchatsats and serf-like nature always has and always will make us secondary in the eyes of the Kremlin, as Russia crawls into bed with its like-minded authoritarian buddies, Erdogan and Aliyev.

    No worries, though. Maybe if we continue begging God to bless Mother Russia, our luck might turn around. On your knees, kiddies! Time to pray for a foreign policy miracle!

  3. VAHAKEN said:

    I DONT THINK THIS IS GOOD NEWS FOR ARMANIA, AS TURKEY BECOMES RICHER AND MORE POWERFULL. ON THE OTHER HAND ARMENIA MIGHT BENEFIT FROM THE NEW INCOME OF EEU.
    IN THE LONG TERM TURKEY WILL BECOME DEPENDENT ON RUSSIAN GAS.
    TURKEY ALWAYS KNEW HOW TO PLAY THE GAME BETWEEN EAST AND WEST AND COULD NEVER BE TRUSTED.
    WE HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE TO FIND OUT MORE.

    • Armenian said:

      Income? EEU? Yeah right. All of the EEU states on average can barely compete with the poorer states of the EU.

  4. Vindicated Man said:

    Politics aside, I’m wondering how Europe is going to cover its gas deficit. Those volumes are really massive.

  5. Hratch said:

    Too bad for Mother Russia, Europe will work with someone else. Too bad for Armenia as well since the bear will now be cozying up with the turkey. Not so bad if only we were not caught up in the middle of the two beasts. The bear will start using us as bait in order to lure the turkey closer to eventually devour it.

    • www.Voskanapat.info said:

      For now Avropa is busy working with its new citizens moving en mass from Bulgaria and Romania to Germany and England. They create instant gettos and destroy our American way of life that Europeans learned in the past 60 years under NATO occupation.

      Nomadic Roma caravans heading West are a good practice for Avropa to prepare for millions and millions of nomadic Turks coming next.

    • Alabalanica said:

      Russia and turkey partners? Lough – nothing more. Russia never played ok with Turkey and never will. Anyway as long as they might it is not going to last long! But who knows, maybe Russia has learnt its lesson to be a good neighboor ? We just have to wait and see!

  6. Hratch said:

    If economical sanctions and a drop in oil prices did not reign in Mother Russia’s imperialistic ambitions, who knows how many more ‘spontaneous’ pro -Russian groups would have miraculously formed around the world. Only a squeeze like this can stifle RasPutin ego, otherwise the same blatant hegemony over Armenia would be seen all around the bear’s reach.

  7. Gurgen said:

    All I know is that the bear and the turkey don’t usually play well together. Thrown into the same room, the turkey must do what he is told or the bear will squash it with it’s paw. There goes Turkey’s ambitions for pan turkic expansion into the south caucases, and there goes Turkey’s desire to remove Assad from power. And there goes Azerbaijans plans for a gas pipeline through Turkey to bypass Russia. Great move by Russia, killing two birds with one stone (pun intended). As for Europe, well, they’ll have plenty of time (generations) to sit and think about what it costs to be American puppets. Thank God Armenia didn’t follow in the same EU path as those poor countries.

  8. Avetis said:

    This was absolutely a brilliant move by Putin as this rant by Forbes reveals –

    Putin Visits Turkey: Oil Prices, Ukraine, Georgia, Cold War, World War: http://www.forbes.com/sites/melikkaylan/2014/12/02/putin-visits-turkey-oil-prices-ukraine-georgia-cold-war-world-war/

    By this action, Moscow has managed to sow discord amongst EU nations, further alienate Ankara from the West, further isolate Georgia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan. This action also forces Ankara to abandon its pan-Turkic/neo-ottoman designs for the south Caucasus. Biggest losers in this deal was Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine. In the long term, Turkey will also be badly hurt by its increasing reliance on Mother Russia. Like I said, this was a brilliant move by Moscow. But it takes grown ups with normally functioning brains to see it as such.

    • Alabalanica said:

      Could not agree more with Avetis. I wonder how damaging this partnership will be for Armenia? Perhaps a little addition in the list of the biggest loosers, i guess.

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