четвъртък, 12 декември 2019 г.

BA Video Commentary Transcript: Would the US sanctions apply to the Bulgarian segment of the Turk Stream?

The sanctions against the Nord and Turk Stream, as voted by the US Congress, are already a fact.
In Germany and Austria, there are calls to arms with the East Committee members insisting that the EU responds in kind to the US interference in the internal EU affairs. As if the Nord and Turk Streams are unanimously accepted.
OMV's CEO Seele made his position crystal clear - "Europe must not allow itself to be patronized by the US in matters of energy politics." In his reading seems to imply that Russia and Gazprom controlling the EU gas market is a perfectly acceptable state of affairs.
Bulgarian PM Borisov has vehemently insisted that the Bulgarian segment of the Turk Stream has nothing to do with the part in Turkey. Among the arguments - the different name he gave the pipeline - the Balkan stream.
The project, he claimed, is not a transit one, as it serves to transfer Turk Stream volumes from the Turkish to the Serbian border, constituting a simple expansion of the Bulgaria transmission system.
What the PM believes does not count in Brussels or Washington.
If Gazexport owns 80 percent on the entry and 90 percent on the exit capacity of the Balkan-Turk Stream - the straightforward name trick game will not fool anyone.
Neither will this deceive the US administration, as just a few days ago, the US Ambassador to Bulgaria Mustafa explicitly stated that Bulgaria does not profit from transit projects such as 'the Turk Stream.'
Why sanctions are inevitable and why the Bulgarian segment is an inalienable part of the Turk Stream related sanction zone?
The text in the NDAA explicitly refers to the scope of activities, companies, and individuals to all that 'engage in .. the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, the TurkStream pipeline project, or any project that is a successor to either such project".
The Bulgarian section is an integral part of the Turk Stream project that crosses SEE countries from Turkey to Hungary. There can be no dispute about it that the Bulgarian section is an essential part of the whole endeavor.
Without Russian gas flowing via Turk Stream, the project will not make any sense. Further proof of the exclusive transit nature of the project is the fact that Gazprom gas, despite earlier claims, is not offering any gas on the Bulgarian Balkan Gas Exchange. Less the quantities that are bought by Bulgargas, all the remaining is destined to Serbia, i.e., for transit.
However, there is more to the defined scope of the sanctions. In the NDAA there are specific lines that define the circumstances that trigger the US sanctions. It is not the pipe itself but the volumes Ukraine loses for its transit.
The Turk and Nord Stream Sanctions' Act is meant "to ensure, barring unforeseen circumstances, that the project would not result in a decrease of more than 25 percent in the volume of Russian energy exports transiting through existing pipelines in other countries, particularly Ukraine, relative to the average monthly volume of Russian energy exports transiting through such pipelines in 2018 ".
As soon as Gazprom switches the Trans-Balkan Pipeline gas flow to the Turk Stream, it immediately becomes sanctionable.
And this is already a fact.
The Turk Stream project affects the transit flows in Romania and Bulgaria by more than 25% of the level of 2018.
The NDAA sanctions on the Turk Stream will be the first time Bulgarian officials or companies involved in significant infrastructure projects would be a direct target of US sanctions.

It is just a matter of time to get the names.

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