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The "Turkish Stream" in Bulgaria Will Not Be Completed as the Kremlin Conceived It


The section of the "Turkish Stream", which passes through Bulgaria, will not be completed according to Moscow's plan and accounts. This is stated in the position of the Atlantic Council in Bulgaria (ACB).


According to the council's experts, American compressor stations of the company Solar Turbines Incorporated will have to be built for the transportation of natural gas along the route of the “Balkan Stream”, as the Bulgarian government calls it and their prognosis is that they will not be delivered by the American company. The Balkan Stream project will most likely be completed only after the gas inter-connector between Greece and Bulgaria is built.

The organization emphasizes that "the expansion of Bulgaria's gas transmission network" under the name the "Balkan Stream" is practically a continuation of the "Turkish Stream" through our country, which is being disguised as a Bulgarian gas project. The ACB also reminds of the economic inefficiency of the pipeline, as well as the inability to recover more than BGN 3 billion of state funds invested in it over the next 20 years.

The position states that the "Turkish Stream" is above all a Russian geopolitical energy project of strategic importance to Russia, as well as a risk to the security of Ukraine and the countries of the Black Sea region". This means that its realization could only take place if the European Union and the US agreed to continue the Russian gas dependence of South-East Europe for decades.

The ACB notes that "as early as 2019, following the adoption of a number of laws in the US regarding the “Nord Stream-2” and the “Turkish Stream”, it became clear that the Kremlin would most likely be stopped in the realization of its geostrategic gas expansion in Europe.

The construction of the “Nord Stream-2” was effectively halted late last year after Switzerland-based company  “Allseas”, which specializes in offshore gas pipelines, suspended the operation of its ship in the Baltic Sea. The company estimated that the loss it would suffer from U.S. sanctions would be very large and decided it should not take any risks.

We expect the situation around the “Turkish Stream” to develop in a similar way after the US stated that it did not matter to them what it is called in Bulgaria – the "Balkan Stream", the "Balkan Gas Hub" or "expansion of Bulgaria's gas transmission network". For Washington, this is the "Turkish Stream", passing through Bulgaria."

In its position, the organization recalls that the recently visited Sofia Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Affairs Francis Fannon diplomatically warned that sanctions could soon be imposed on the companies that build the pipeline and the suppliers of the equipment for it.

"The European Commission has sufficient tools to force Bulgaria to renegotiate Gazprom's requested capacity of 90% at the entry point of the Bulgarian-Turkish border. If Gazprom exports wants to transit Russian gas to Serbia and Hungary it should agree that the quantities it plans to transit through our territory will not be as planned due to the fact that Bulgaria as a member of the European Union cannot violate the general rules of the Union. Although the Minister of Energy claims that the project complies with all European directives. These are words that sound more like an excuse to Moscow. Because in 2018 Putin asked Prime Minister Borisov for "reinforced concrete" guarantees that the project would not be stopped by the EC", the experts said.

The ACB summarizes that only when the diversification of gas supplies to Bulgaria is completed and it is exempted from the energy gas dependence on Russia, it is possible to finalize and put into operation the so-called “Balkan stream” or gas hub "Balkan". Only then will this pipeline not be called "Turkish Stream", because it will flow not only Russian gas, but also Azeri, Qatari, Egyptian, Cypriot, Algerian, American and gas from more possible suppliers. Then none of the transit countries will occupy more than 50% of its capacity, and only in this way competitiveness and energy independence of both Bulgaria and Europe can be guaranteed.

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