Putin Offers to Supply Europe With Gas Via TurkStream Subsea Pipeline
Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to set up an alternative route for gas exports to Europe after explosive blasts ruptured three out of the four pipes in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 subsea pipeline systems. Investigators believe that the attacks were intentional acts of sabotage, and several Western nations have blamed Russia for the damage.
Addressing an energy conference in Moscow, Putin suggested setting up a "gas hub" for Europe in Turkey and using the TurkStream pipeline system as a substitute for Nord Stream.
“We could move the lost volumes . . . to the Black Sea region and thus make the main routes for the supply of our fuel, our natural gas to Europe through Turkey, creating the largest gas hub for Europe in Turkey,” Putin told the audience. "That is, of course, if our partners are interested in this."
Alexei Miller, head of state-owned gas company Gazprom, echoed Putin's suggestion. He added that the deeper waters of the Black Sea would likely provide a greater deterrent to terrorist attacks than the diver-accessible depths in the Baltic.
Russia has ratcheted down gas supplies to Europe by more than 80 percent since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, departing from the obligations of its long-term supply contracts. Its pipeline networks to Europe (including Nord Stream 1) were already running well under capacity prior to the Nord Stream attack and continue to underperform historical deliveries by a wide margin. Keisuke Sadamori, the International Energy Agency's Director of Energy Markets and Security, recently characterized Russia's undersupply policy as "reckless and unpredictable conduct, which has shattered its reputation as a reliable supplier."
At the conference Wednesday, Miller and Putin offered to turn on the taps again immediately - so long as Germany would take deliveries via the surviving pipeline of the Nord Stream 2 system. Germany shut down Nord Stream 2 before it entered operation because of the impending invasion of Ukraine, and starting it up would require Germany to make a substantial political concession to Moscow. The Kremlin has not offered to resume full deliveries via its terrestrial pipelines.
Miller added that any deliveries via Nord Stream 2 would be honored only under new contracts, not under existing supply agreements. Gas prices in Europe are currently about six times higher than the 2021 average due to Russian undersupply, raising the starting point for any contract negotiations.