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Turning Turkey into a hub for Russian gas still faces great obstacles

Russia’s plan to turn Turkey into a hub for Russian gas in theory could allow Moscow to mask its exports with fuel from other sources, but that might not be enough to persuade Europeans to buy, analysts and sources have told and Reuters.

A special report on the topic notes:

“Russia supplied 40% of the European Union gas market until Moscow on 24 February sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in what it calls a “special military operation”…
Russia’s exports to Europe have fallen by 43.4% this year and the TurkStream pipeline to Turkey is running well below its 31.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of annual capacity.
Zongqiang Luo, senior analyst at Rystad Energy, estimated about 60% of pipeline capacity was unusued following exports this year of about 10.6 bcm gas by 21 November. Rystad’s Luo estimated it would take at least three to four years to build the costly new infrastructure needed. “Even if a new pipeline could be built, then who is going to buy that gas?” he asked.

Others thought buyers would be found. A source in Russia’s pipeline gas exporting monopoly Gazprom said be believed the hub would facilitate sales.

A trading source in Europe said China, which overtook Japan to become the world’s top importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2021, is already re-selling Russian LNG, which has not been labelled as “made in Moscow”.”

Already in September, it emerged that China had been quietely reselling Russian gas to Europe.  Both Europe and Japan are also still buying Russian LNG directly, which is more expensive than Russian pipeline gas.

Bloomberg reported that European Union members spent 12.5 billion euros on Russian liquefied natural gas between January and September, five times more than during the same period in 2021.

Specifically on Turkey-Russia links, experts have warned that Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, which is being built by Russia’s Rosatom, might become a tool to advance Russian interests in the region.