From the point of view of economics, Turkey stands to gain more from this reconciliation with Russia

11 august 2016 | RBC-TV

The Head of the Department for Strategic Studies in Energy of the Analytical Center Alexander Kurdin went on air on RBC-TV to talk about the energy relations between Russia and Turkey.

Alexander Kurdin
Alexander Kurdin
Department for Fuel and Energy Sector

"Russia has only got two reliable partners and friends, the army and the navy," the expert joked. As far as Turkey is concerned, it is in its best interests to maintain good relation with Russia, especially in the energy sector," Mr. Kurdin believes. "Even when relations between the two countries hit a rough patch recently, they still continued to expand links in the energy sector, albeit at a much slower pace. Work continued on the Turkish Stream and on the deliveries that Russia had to make under existing contracts," the expert said.

The expert noted that last  year there was good demand for natural gas in Europe, so Turkey wants to get in on the game and play the role of a major NG hub in the south east of the continent. Bulgaria had also already expressed interest, the analyst said. "We can expect relations between the countries to expand further because there is interest on both sides," Mr. Kurdin summed up.

Then the issue of the Turkish stream was brought up. The expert noted that negotiations about it were difficult, there were a lot of hidden bureaucratic problems. "I do hope the project will get going now that there has been a thawing in the political relations between the two countries. I mean, now in their desire to demonstrate they are interested in closer cooperation, both parties are going to be really eager to get cracking on the Turkish stream project," Mr. Kurdin believe. In his opinion, the shakeup in the relations was actually a good thing for the project.

Answering the host’s question about the conditions that the new pipeline is going to be built on, the expert said the situation in the market was constantly changing so it was too early to talk conditions just yet, the negotiations have been resumed and now new updated terms are going to be hammered out.

As for the European commission, it cannot really derail the Turkish stream project because the pipeline does not enter the territory of the European Union, the analyst noted. "Furthermore, as the relations between Russia and Turkey thaw, it can prompt other European countries to be more tolerant of alternative projects. If they want for Russian natural gas to be delivered to their territory, they are going to have to be more agreeable when dealing with us. I mean we are now going to have the Turkish stream alternative," Mr. Kurdin explained.

From the point of view of economics, Turkey stands to gain more from this reconciliation with Russia, the expert is convinced. "The reconciliation was more important for Turkey than for Russia. They’re more dependent on us in terms of energy than Russia is dependent on Turkey for anything," he believes.

For more, watch the interview on RBC-TV