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Button Pressed for Deep- Water Phase of TurkStream Gas Pipeline By Cigdem Yorgancioglu

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, 23 rd. June 2017 launched the deep-water phase of the TurkStream gas pipeline project, calling Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan from a ship off the Black Sea coast. TurkStream will deliver Russian gas to Turkey and is eventually intended to serve the European Union. Go! Putin said, pressing a button on the Pioneering Spirit pipe laying ship, the world's largest construction vessel, to formally launch the work, accompanied by Gazprom energy giant's chief Alexei Miller. Photo.Gazprom It is planned to use Pioneering Spirit, world’s largest construction vessel, to build TurkStream gas pipeline’s deep-water offshore section .The Kremlin strongman also phoned Erdogan from the ship in an effusively friendly exchange covered at length by Russia's state Rossiya 24 channel.

  

Button Pressed for Deep- Water Phase of  

TurkStream Gas Pipeline

By Cigdem Yorgancioglu

http://www.cigdemyorgancioglu.org    @LaPaloma68

 

No, Edge of Direct Military Conflict,

Yes, Verge of Genuine Alliance.   Here is “TurkStream”

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, 23 rd. June 2017 launched the deep-water phase of the TurkStream gas pipeline project, calling Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan from a ship off the Black Sea coast. TurkStream will deliver Russian gas to Turkey and is eventually intended to serve the European Union.[i]

 

 

 

"Go!" Putin said, pressing a button on the Pioneering Spirit pipe laying ship, the world's largest construction vessel, to formally launch the work, accompanied by Gazprom energy giant's chief Alexei Miller.

 

Photo.Gazprom    It is planned to use Pioneering Spirit, world’s largest construction vessel, to build TurkStream gas pipeline’s deep-water offshore section

 

 

.The Kremlin strongman also phoned Erdogan from the ship in an effusively friendly exchange covered at length by Russia's state Rossiya 24 channel.


According to AFP, "The work has already started. I want to thank you once more and congratulate you on this," Putin said. Speaking on a white dial phone, Putin praised the speedy progress of the project, attributing this to backing from Erdogan. “Where in our country it takes years, I'm not exaggerating, on various administrative agreements, with Turkey we do this in a few months," Putin said. "Undoubtedly this happens directly with your personal support." Energy projects between Turkey and Russia have been important part of energy supply security for nearly 30 years, Erdogan said . Russian television also covered from Turkey Erdogan speaking to Putin from the airport of the town of Kayseri, sitting in a leather armchair. The two leaders spoke for around 15 minutes and then agreed to speak again later, while Erdogan said "Spasibo," or thank you, twice, Russian television reported.


The idea is not just to supply gas to Turkey but also to turn it into a transit country for Russian gas heading to the European Union, replacing Ukraine. "If our partners want this, we are ready to supply gas via Turkey to southern and southeastern Europe. We see that our partners have an interest in this," Putin told Erdogan at the launch, quoted by the Kremlin website.

 

 

 

TurkStream Historical Background


TurkStream will directly connect the large gas reserves in Russia to the Turkish gas transportation network, to provide reliable energy supplies for Turkey and south-east Europe[ii].

TurkStream is the project for a transit-free export gas pipeline stretching across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and further to Turkey's border with neighboring countries. The first string of the gas pipeline is intended for Turkish consumers, while the second string will deliver gas to southern and southeastern Europe. Each string will have the throughput capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas per year. İ.e The Turkstream project entails the construction of two lines, each capable of carrying 15.75 billion cubic metres of gas per year. The first is due to be completed in 2018 and the second in 2019.

Russia first floated the project in 2014 after the European Union blocked plans for a pipeline under the Black Sea to Bulgaria, at the height of the Ukraine crisis.

 

The idea is not just to supply gas to Turkey but also to turn it into a transit country for Russian gas heading to the European Union, replacing Ukraine. As stated in the introductory paragraph pertaining the statements on 23rd June 2017 (please see above) .

 

On December 1, 2014, Gazprom and Turkey's Botas signed the Memorandum of Understanding to construct the TurkStream gas pipeline. The pipeline will run 660 kilometers along the old route of South Stream and cover 250 kilometers of a new route toward the European part of Turkey.

Suspension of the TurkStream Project

The negotiations on TurkStream gas pipeline project have been suspended by Moscow in response to Turkey shooting down a Russian Su-24M tactical bomber performing a combat sortie over the territory of Syria in the vicinity of the Turkish border and violated Turkish airspace was brought down by a Turkish Air Force fighter jet.  The start of construction was formerly scheduled for June but has been delayed as Moscow and Ankara failed to reach an intergovernmental agreement.

Turkstream revivied after Restoration of the Relationship

Russia's President Vladimir Putin said on end June 2016  that he asked his government to [iii]begin "the process of normalizing general trade and economic ties with Turkey", fixing badly strained relations since the jet  Su-24M  crises incident.  The development came days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed regret for the downing of the Russian jet in a letter this week to Putin.  The Russian leader said the letter created conditions to close "this crisis chapter" in bilateral relations. Putin and Erdogan held a "constructive" telephone conversation, according to the Kremlin on 29 June 2016

In September 2016, Gazprom received a number of permits for the project from the Turkish authorities, including the first construction permit for the offshore section and the survey permit for the two strings of the offshore gas pipeline in Turkey's exclusive economic zone and territorial waters.

The Agreement on the TurkStream project between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Turkish Republic was signed in Istanbul, where the 23rd World Energy Congress was underway

 

On October 10, 2016, Russia and Turkey signed the Intergovernmental Agreement on the TurkStream project. South Stream Transport B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gazprom, is responsible for the construction of the gas pipeline's offshore section.

 

The Turkish President signed the law on 06 December 2016 ratifying the Agreement.  Russia’s ratification was pending before its Parliament.[iv]

 

The Agreement contains several unique provisions, a few of which are highlighted below:

 

Article 8.10 provides that the offshore section company and onshore section 2, company shall not be subject to the Turkish laws on the natural gas market, including the requirements to tariff regulation, third party access and unbundling.

 

Article 12 provides for an amicable dispute settlement procedure between the Parties concerning the application and (or) interpretation of the Agreement by means of negotiations or consultations, failing which the dispute shall be referred to an ad hoc arbitration court. Whereas any disputes under Article 10 (tax matters) between the offshore section company, onshore section 2 company or their participants, on the one hand, and the respective Party, on the other hand, shall be subject to written notification with detailed comments.  Failing an amicable dispute resolution, the dispute shall be settled under the Rules of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce by one or more arbitrators appointed in accordance with the Rules.

 

Article 13 stipulates that the Russian participant in the offshore section company and the Russian participant in onshore section 2, company are considered as investors, and their investments are considered as investments within the context of the Agreement.

 

 

In December 2016, South Stream Transport B.V. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gazprom) and Allseas Group S.A. signed the contract to build the first string of the TurkStream gas pipeline’s offshore section with an option for laying the second string.

 

Post Referendum Compliments and Congratulations

Putin congratulated his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan[v] over the win of 'Yes' in April 16 referendum which enables Turkey to switch to the presidential system from the current parliamentary one. In the call, both leaders agreed to cooperate in Syria ceasefire and normalization of Turkish-Russian relations.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, May 3, 2017. Source: Reuters Relations are being restored in a full format. (except tomatoes which curved our mouths upward) Putin whole-heartedly welcomed the Turkish delegation, thanking Erdogan for having accepted the invitation and come to Sochi. [vi]The Russian president emphasized that bilateral relations are developing "as we had planned with you."

Putin congratulated Erdogan once again upon the outcome of Turkey’s recent referendum that considerably expanded his presidential powers. Putin said "many things we are doing together are of a fundamental nature and require discussion in parliament."

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTO:: Gazprom-http://www.gazprom.com/f/posts/55/359415/map_tur_potok_e2017-05-05_1.png

 

Layout of TurkStream gas pipeline route

 

 


Another Giant Step Taken after the Rekindle of Relationship at Sochi and Gazprom begins TurkStream pipeline construction

 

Primarily, Allseas Group is the world's leading company in offshore pipe-laying and subsea construction. The company is focused on comprehensive project implementation, including design, material and equipment procurement, construction, and commissioning.
Audacia is a multi-purpose pipe-laying vessel used for laying small- and medium-diameter pipelines of any length and at any depth.

 

Russia's Gazprom has begun construction on the Turk Stream  that will start on the Russian coast near the town of Anapa and run over 900 km through the Black Sea to come ashore in the Thrace region of Turkey[vii] as of last month and feeder lines are planned to also supply EU markets.

On May 7, 2017, construction of the TurkStream gas pipeline was commenced in the Black Sea near the Russian coast.

Russian energy giant Gazprom has begun laying pipes for the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline off the Russian Black Sea coast, Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller said on 7th May 2017, days after the Sochi meeting between Turkish and Russian leaders.[viii]

[ix]Construction of the TurkStream gas pipeline was commenced on 7th May 2017 in the Black Sea near the Russian coast. Pipe-laying[x] is carried out by the Audacia vessel owned by Allseas, the construction contractor for both strings of the gas pipeline's offshore section. The vessel will be also used for pipe pulling through micro tunnels. Construction works for the Turk Stream gas pipeline in the deep-water area will be performed by the Pioneering Spirit pipe-laying vessel.

On the basis of the statement “Today, we started the practical implementation of the Turk Stream gas pipeline project: pipe-laying within the offshore section. The project has been implemented in strict compliance with the plan,” Miller said in a statement [xi], adding that “by late 2019, our Turkish and European consumers will have a new, reliable source of Russian gas imports.” Going into the details of the works that are currently under way off the Krasnodar Krai coastline, Miller said that that the inaugural construction works are being carried out by the Audacia multi-purpose pipe-laying vessel, owned by Allseas, the project’s main contractor. It is tasked with construction of both legs of the pipeline’s offshore stretch, measuring over 900 km. The first of the legs, with a maximum capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters, will deliver Russian natural gas directly to Turkey, while the second is envisioned to supply gas to European customers.  The much-awaited announcement comes on the heels of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi on May 3rd 2017.  The Turkish Stream project, which was signed into an agreement by Putin and Erdogan in Istanbul in October 2016, was one of the key points on the meeting’s agenda. He following day, Miller told Putin that Gazprom had completed all preliminary work and was “ready to start the sea stretch of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline in a few days.”

 

 

Amalgamation Pattern of EIA Report for “TurkStream Offshore Section” is Particularly Remarkable

Significant investments to facilitate safe pipeline design, surveys and environmental studies have been made, to develop the optimum pipeline design. Part of this process is carrying out national Environmental Impact Assessments [xii]   EIA for both Russia and Turkey. (CED Cevresel Etki Değerlendirmesi EIA in Turkish Language) Working with international specialists on both sea and land, the EIA process will help Parties to learn more about the environment and potential impacts of the Project. Accordingly, Parties will be able to develop strategies based on these assessments to enhance the Project’s benefits and to reduce any potential adverse effects.
 

An EIA has already been completed and approved for the Russian Sector of the project as part of the South Stream Offshore Pipeline. The mitigation and management measures to enhance benefits and reduce adverse effects contained in this EIA scheduled to be applied for the TurkStream Project. That will start on the Russian coast near Anapa, and run through the Black Sea for nearly 230 km in Russian waters. Approximately 700 km of the pipeline will lie within the Turkish Exclusive Economic Zone.  In terms of Health and Safety TurkStream is Compliant with Strict Health, Safety, Security and Environmental Standards throughout all project stages.

 

Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) Report published by The Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanization (Offshore Section)   

The Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanization has published the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the offshore section of the TurkStream Gas Pipeline Project on 21st June 2017. In preparation for the EIA report, field surveys were conducted to pinpoint, assess and document potential environmental and social impacts of the project activities. As part of the assessment, various Turkish stakeholders, including government experts, local community representatives and fish-monger groups, were consulted. The EIA embraces of information on the potential environmental and social impacts of the offshore section of the TurkStream project. It also consists of recommendations for the mitigation of the potential adverse impacts and enhancement of the beneficial ones.

 

The Turkish government established a Review and Evaluation Commission with representatives from pertinent institutions and organizations to review the EIA report. After receiving the findings of the Commission, South Stream Transport B.V. will submit a final report to the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. The EIA was prepared by ELC Group Inc. on behalf of South Stream Transport B.V., the project owner of the offshore section of the TurkStream project.

Regarding the report, South Stream Transport B.V highlighted the significance of the EIA report as an opportunity for a transparent consultation on the possible impacts of the TurkStream project.

The measures and criteria comprised in the EIA report provide effective mitigation to minimize our environmental footprint, the company noted. "The exact conditions for certain measures, for example regarding replanting of trees, will be determined by external experts in coordination with the Turkish government," it added, expressing its commitment to develop and complete the TurkStream offshore pipeline in accordance with the goal to ensure excellent execution of international industry practices and Turkish legislation.

The Investigation and Evaluation Board (IDC) meeting will be held on 4 th July 2017 for the planned part of TurkStream to be held in Kırklareli Vize.

Subsequently, South Stream Transport B.V  will present its final report to the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization  after charming the opinions of the "Review and Evaluation Commission" established by the representatives of the relevant institutions and organizations of the Turkish government for the assessment of the EIA report.

Questions are raised by readers of my article pertaining   EIA Report of 21 June, “What is South Stream about, isn’t it cancelled?  South Stream BV is usually led confusion.

Finally for the clarification, TurkStream is replacement of cancelled South Stream Project while South Stream Transport B.V is the project owner of the offshore section of the TurkStream project.   South Stream was a Russian-sponsored project. As initially planned, the pipeline would run under the Black Sea to Bulgaria, and continue through Serbia with two branches to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Croatia. The European Commission put pressure on Bulgaria to freeze South Stream, citing breaches of EU law in the intergovernmental agreement for the construction of the pipeline.

In the meantime, Russia replaced South Stream with Turkish Stream (also known as Turk Stream), intended to bring Russian gas to the European territory of Turkey, under the Black Sea. It is unclear what route the gas would take beyond Turkey, but Gazprom has indicated it plans to use the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), part of the Southern Gas Corridor, to transport its gas to Southern Italy via Greece and Albania, under the Adriatic Sea.[xiii]

 


[i] Agence France Presse AFP       23 rd June 2017   Putin launches deep-water phase of TurkStream gas pipeline

https://www.afp.com/en/news/2266/putin-launches-deep-water-phase-turkstream-gas-pipeline

 

[iii] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/06/russia-closes-crisis-chapter-turkey-160629131937917.html Russia closes 'crisis chapter' with Turkey Moscow lifts travel restrictions to Turkey, orders trade ties normalized days after Ankara regrets downing Russian jet -29 June 2016

 

[iv] http://mc-academy.org/turkstream-gas-pipeline-project-a-compendium/  Even though every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this document, MC Academy for International Legal Studies does not assume any responsibility for any actual or perceived inaccuracies.

 

[vi] TASS Russian News Agency http://tass.com/politics/944381     http://tass.com/politics/944381

 

[x] Pipelaying  pipelaying ship is a maritime vessel used in the construction of subsea infrastructure.-Wikipedia

[xi]  Alexey Miller’s  statement, (Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee ) http://www.gazprom.com/press/news/2017/may/article329932/

 

[xii] Çiğdem Yorgancıoğlu  Enerji Gazetesi ist – 23 rd June 2017   Türk Akımı, Akıntıya Kapılmadan, Olağan Akışında… http://www.enerjigazetesi.ist/kose-yazisi-turk-akimi-akintiya-kapilmadan-olagan-akisinda/

 

References

 

Çiğdem Yorgancıoğlu Uluslararası Politika Akademisi  Güney Akım Projesinin İptali Nedenleri Üzerine  http://politikaakademisi.org/2015/01/19/guney-akim-projesinin-iptal-nedenleri-uzerine/

 

http://politikaakademisi.org/2015/01/07/nesvu-nema-turbulansta-rovasata/

 

Çiğdem Yorgancıoglu , Uluslararası Politika Akademisi  -  Western Sanctions on Russia and Impacts on Economy    http://politikaakademisi.org/2014/12/31/western-sanctions-on-russia-and-impacts-on-the-economy/

 

 

Çiğdem Yorgancıoğlu  Enerji Gazetesi ist – 23 rd June 2017   Türk Akımı, Akıntıya Kapılmadan, Olağan Akışında… http://www.enerjigazetesi.ist/kose-yazisi-turk-akimi-akintiya-kapilmadan-olagan-akisinda/

 

https://www.rt.com/business/387528-gazprom-turkish-stream-start-construction/

Çiğdem Yorgancıoğlu, Mavi Elma 1.Bölüm : Avrupa Birliği Politikaları ve Türkiye  “AB Enerji Politikalarında Türkiye’nin Yeri”, içinde -Mavi Elma: Türkiye-Avrupa İlişkileri, Ozan Örmeci ve Hüseyin Işıksal (ed.), (Ankara: Gazi Kitabevi, 2016), ss. 28-29. http://politikaakademisi.org/2016/07/04/upadan-yeni-kitap-mavi-elma-turkiye-avrupa-iliskileri/

Sina Kısacık ve  Furkan Kaya, Mavi Elma 1.Bölüm : Avrupa Birliği Politikaları ve TürkiyeGüney Kafkasya Bölgesi: Türkiye-Avrupa Birliği İlişkilerinde Yeni Bir Rekabet Mi, İşbirliği Sahası Mı? içinde -Mavi Elma: Türkiye-Avrupa İlişkileri, Ozan Örmeci ve Hüseyin Işıksal (ed.), (Ankara: Gazi Kitabevi, 2016), ss.45-76 http://politikaakademisi.org/2016/07/04/upadan-yeni-kitap-mavi-elma-turkiye-avrupa-iliskileri/

TurkStream Agreement http://mc-academy.org/turkstream-gas-pipeline-project-a-compendium/

 

 

[xiii] EU-Gazprom deal clears Bulgaria of South Stream cancellation claims by Georgi Gotev | EURACTIV.com Mar 13, 2017  https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/eu-gazprom-deal-clears-bulgaria-of-south-stream-cancellation-claims/

 

  

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