Russian South Stream gas pipeline

The political cost of the toll

The construction of the South Stream gas pipeline that would carry Russian gas to southern Europe, and has 900 km of submarine lying at the bottom of the Black Sea may be suspended or modified by differences between Russia and Turkey.

Although the Russian media anticipate that the issue is on the agenda of the meeting between the Russian president Dimitry Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it has not transcended the Summit anything about it.

The bilateral agreements between the countries through which it will pass the gas pipeline initiated in 2008, and to the date, despite the agreement reached in 2009 between Russia and Turkey after the submarine passage by the North Sea in Turkish waters, this last country has not yet authorized the beginning of works.

Voices of the Russian government anticipate that the construction may be temporarily suspended, while industry experts are in favor of building a third branch in the pipeline of the North (North Stream) to replace the supply path in discussion today, claiming that it would cost to Gazprom about 4,000 million Euros less and would facilitate the financing.

There are all sort of commentaries according to the topic, some Germanic voices say that the Russian gas is expensive and they prefer to look for other alternatives, also Russians, but cheaper, while some experts anticipate that Turkey considers minors the economic benefits of the gas pipeline for the country, and the pressures of the moment are more politic than economic, which preannounce delays and bargaining in the pending authorization.

Those are not the first obstacles that this huge work is facing, neither the first change in the lying, let’s remember that initially would pass through Ukraine, and surely the pressures of the involved parts will continue, whether they are transit countries or the investors of the project.

It took a long time to convince Europe that Russia would not use the gas as a political weapon, nor economic, and now has the full support of Germany, that considers Russia as a reliable partner. So it seems unlikely that the Russian Government quits this work and more difficult that Gazprom leaves that space to other competitors. The gas giant holds since the beginning of this project, that this one will follow its course whatever conjuncture of the market.

If it will pass through Turkish waters or not, seems not determinant. If this passage is considered as a political tool, in a world in crisis that foreshadows changes, the new lying could benefit to new partners or old allies of Russia.