- With regard to South Stream. We feel that the European Commission’s position was unconstructive. It’s not that the European Commission has helped implement this project – it’s that we see obstacles being created in its implementation. If Europe does not want to implement it, then it will not be implemented.
We will focus our energy resource flows on other regions of the world, including through promotion and accelerated implementation of liquefied natural gas projects. We will promote them in other markets, and Europe will not receive those volumes – at least, from Russia. We feel that this does not correspond to Europe’s economic interests and is detrimental to our cooperation.
But that was our European friends’ choice; there’s nothing special about this; ultimately, they are the buyers and it is their choice. But it makes no sense to start this project now, while we still have not received permission from Bulgaria to bring this project into Bulgaria’s exclusive economic zone, onto its territory, as you yourself understand. Would we invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a project, move across the Black Sea, and stop in front of the Bulgarian border? How do our colleagues imagine this? So we will not implement anything. Though the company that was supposed to build it is ready to start works already today, or even yesterday, and everything is ready for it.
Incidentally, my Bulgarian colleagues have always told me that whatever happens, they would certainly implement South Stream, because this corresponds to their national interests. But here, unfortunately, this did not come to pass. If Bulgaria is deprived of the opportunity to act as a sovereign nation, then they should at least demand money from the European Commission to compensate for their lost profits, because direct revenues to Bulgaria’s budget alone would have been no less than 400 million euro a year. But ultimately, this is also the choice of our Bulgarian partners; it seems they have certain obligations. Still, that’s not our business – it’s our partners’ business.
As for Turkey, its consumption is growing. Our Turkish partners generally understand how Turkey’s economy will grow and how much energy it will need. We are ready to provide for it. Moreover, we are ready to expand supplies through Blue Stream and by constructing an additional supply line.
As I already said, if needed, if our relevant agencies and economic actors – BOTAS on the one side and Gazprom on the other – see this possible (and they just signed a memorandum on this very matter today), then they will create a gas hub for southern Europe at the Turkish border with Greece. And everyone who is interested in receiving energy resources from there can go there and buy them.
Transcript from the news conference following the meeting of High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council