When they speak about the project of the century as a great step in the modern history of Turkey, the media and the government forget about the realities of this project, according to energy expert Mr. Necdet Pamir. He believes that the only advantage of this project will be the absence of interruptions in the supply of gas. When justifying its assumptions Mr. Necdet Pamir thinks TurkStream will eventually allow Russia to keep Turkey on an even shorter leash. Turkey already receives 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas from two sources in Russia: The Blue Stream (16 billion cubic meters) and the Western Stream (which passes through Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria (14 billion cubic meters.)) TurkStream, in comparison, will provide Turkey with 15.75 billion cubic meters, which in its essence, does not make it a historical step for the century.
The technological aspect of the project as a breakthrough or a technological miracle (the pipe was laid at a depth of 2200 meters) in which Turkey, according to the media, played a huge role, is also an exaggeration, as Turkish craftsmen mainly worked on an elevated project. Thinking that the project will enable Turkey to buy gas cheaper is also not exactly true. European countries are already buying gas at much lower prices than Turkey. But according to Mr. Necdet Pamir, the negotiations stage played a big role, and by choosing the right time and place, we could get a discount.
TurkStream stands at the crossroads between Russia, Europe and Ukraine, which are actively used in their efforts to break free of energy-dependence on Russia. (Russia is not merely a producer, but also a shareholder in many European gas transit corporations.) In turn, Russia wants to play by its own rules, once again showing Europe who the master of the situation is. Thus, by realizing both Nord Stream and TurkStream, she simply wants to punish Ukraine by abandoning its gas transit project to Europe. Turkey is very crucial to this project because of its status as a NATO member country. In the current situation however, Turkey with all the gas, oil, coal and nuclear power plant projects in play is becoming more and more dependent on Russia for its energy needs.
Foreign policy, and particularly the Syrian issue, the Middle East and the situation in the Mediterranean region, also plays a very important role here. By moving away from America and approaching Russia, Turkey becomes more constrained when making important political decisions, because it is forced to take into account the position of its strategic partner – Russia and calculate the consequences of its actions.
The situation in the region is extremely tense and the consequences as they stand now are quite unpredictable.
Mr. Necdet Pamir, a co-founder of Ankara based SIGMA Independent Research Society think-tank, is a petroleum engineer and worked 25 years at all levels of the Turkish state petroleum company, TPAO. He is a member of the World Energy Conference Turkish National Committee, Chamber of Petroleum Engineers EnergyPolicy Working Group; lecturer at the Eastern Mediterranean University the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and is recognized as an authority in the field of energy.
Turkey, according to Mr. Pamir, can actually become self-sufficient in energy by using solar, wind and bio-fuel alternatives. The government should incentivize this to try and attract potential investors. But unfortunately, neither the government nor the investment circles consider this to be profitable or capable of developing and sustenance in general. Business people in pursuit of quick profits, sometimes forget about the national interests of their country. Turkey is then left to meet all the conditions from suppliers, even having to fulfill economically unfeasible requirements.
According to Mr. Pamir, the EastMed project (a gas pipe project between Israel, Egypt, Greece and GCASC) is a project that will remain on paper. Moreover, he doesn’t expect it to be destined to become an alternative to Russian gas. The expert explains this by saying that the natural gas reserves included in the project geography are so small that the project is not financially profitable, starting from its construction stage. The EastMed project is a pipe-dream pushed by the media against TurkStream.
As for crude oil, the current situation between the USA and Iran, the Persian Gulf, which makes up 35% of the world oil market transported through the seas, may act as the main blow to the market. Political instability in Iran will lead to instability throughout the region. This situation has already dragged Iraq and Saudi Arabia into a turmoil, and this can greatly affect oil production in general.