ANKARA, — Russia is unable to continue the South Stream gas pipeline project implementation in current conditions, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday.
“Taking into account the European Commission’s position, which is not contributing to the realization of this project, taking into account the fact that we have only recently received permission from the respective organizations in the Netherlands… Taking into account the fact that we still have not received Bulgaria’s permission, we think that Russia is unable to continue realization of this project in such conditions,” Putin said at a press conference following talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“We cannot start the construction in the sea until we have Bulgaria’s permission to begin construction in the sea. It would be absurd to reach the Bulgarian coast and to stop then,” Russian leader added.
Due to the European Commission's non-constructive approach, Russia will redirect gas deliveries to other regions, Putin said.
"We think that the European Commission's position was non-constructive. It is not that the European Commission has not helped in realization of this project, we can see that the obstacles are being created in its implementation. So, if Europe does not want to implement it, it means that it will not be realized," the president explained.
"We will redirect the flow of our energy resources to other regions of the world, including by advanced and fast realization of liquefied natural gas projects," he said.
"We will advance to the other markets and Europe will not receive these volumes, at least from Russia. We think that this is not corresponding with Europe's economic interests and causes damage to our cooperation. But this is the choice of our European friends," Putin stated.
In 2012 Russian energy giant Gazprom announced the beginning of construction of a pipeline across the Black Sea to reduce the possibility of unreliable Russian natural gas passage to central and southern Europe through the territory of Ukraine. The pipeline is expected to be fully operational by 2018.
Brussels has repeatedly stated that the project violated the European Union's Third Energy Package, because under its charter it is an illegal conflict of interest to simultaneously own a pipeline and produce the natural gas that flows through it. Moscow insists that the construction of the pipeline does not contradict the regulations.
Russia Could Create Additional Gas Hub for Southern Europe
Russia could create an additional gas hub in Turkey, on the border with Greece, for gas consumers in Southern Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday.
"We are ready not only to increase [the capacity of] Blue Stream [pipeline] … but also to build another pipeline system to meet the growing needs of the Turkish economy and, if deemed viable, to create an additional gas hub for the consumers in Southern Europe on the territory of Turkey on the border with Greece," Putin said after a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.