вторник, 30 декември 2014 г.

Europe has successfully called Putin's South Stream bluff

The news that all EU companies have left South Stream Transport BV and Gazprom is on its own with 100% stakes means -

a. the notion the South Stream is an European project is dead. This is no news for many, but still it is an admission of failure of Gazprom's drive to short cut EU regulation and legislation with privileged deals with EU partners.

b. in the future Gazprom will have to pay out of its pocket for all cost associated with sustaining the myth the South (Turkish) Stream is alive. Good news - the financial bleeding will finally stop and henceforth there will be no justification for incurring any additional cost associated with project continuation in Bulgaria.

Russian media are desperately trying to help Putin save face interpreting the cancellation of South Stream as a bold move to put pressure on the Europeans.

Quite the contrary - the EU companies' pull out from the project means that they will now focus on non-Russian gas alternatives, including the EU agenda on the Southern Corridor.

The narrative in the Russian press that Turkey is under pressure from the EU and the US not to engage with Gazprom misses the main point of dependence of Turkey on the EU for its energy transit role. All Europe needs to deny Turkey's dreamt "hub" status with Russian gas - is not to buy Russian gas coming from Turkey. Then all the costs and the risks with sustaining the project's myth will be borne by Gazprom and Botas. Concurrently - such a foul play of Ankara will foster alternative gas supply routes avoiding Turkish territory, e.g. through Greece, which is EU territory.

If Russia and Gazprom with all the resources and the routes under their control could not enforce upon the European Union their own terms in energy trade - the chances that Turkey will succeed in this endeavour are negligible.

Europe has successfully called Putin's bluff.

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