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Russia has “outrun” Georgia at the energy front2009-08-10 16:21
Georgia's transit capacities are considered to be its basic security guarantees. Europe and the US are paying Tbilisi for its energy corridors by-passing Russia by providing it with grants, credits and informational support. However, it is yet too early to disregard Moscow. Last week, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin agreed upon further cooperation with Turkey by enhancing realization of the South Stream gas project and by strengthening relations between the two main players in the Caucasus. At the same time, Russia abandoned the rules imposed by the European Energy Charter.
Europe dreams to get rid of its notorious energy dependency on Russia. Georgia is a valuable partner in this matter. The fact was again stated on the eve of the last year war anniversary by the US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon in the course of the hearings in the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. "Some representatives of the former administration took part in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project. There are certain parallels between this project and Nabucco. We support the Nabucco project and we believe that it will become an extra energy corridor for Europe", - the American told.
The intergovernmental agreement on Nabucco construction was signed in Turkey on July, 13. The day before the document was signed, Moscow had offered to take part in Ankara's projects on constructing new gas pipelines running along the Black Sea bottom and by-passing the unreliable Ukraine. The Turkish authorities promised to think it over and then agreed to all conditions set by the European countries in respect of the Nabucco gas transit payment. In fact, they supported the project that is competing with the Russian South Stream. However, this step taken by Ankara did not turn to be Russia's failure.
In less than a month, on August 6, Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin arrived at the Turkish capital to perform his negotiations feat: within several hours, the parties signed 15 intergovernmental agreements and 7 special protocols. In the opinion of Head of the Turkish government Tayyip Erdogan, these bilateral agreements will bring Russia and Turkey to a new level of strategic cooperation.
The greatest success of the Russian diplomacy at these negotiations is probably Turkey's consent to construct the underwater section of the South Stream gas pipeline in its territorial waters along the bottom of the Black Sea from Novorossijsk to the Bulgarian port of Varna. The new pipe is supposed to decrease the dependency of the European gas consumers on transit countries, specifically, on Ukraine.
In return, Russia agreed to a more close consideration of the possibility of constructing the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline through the Turkish territory that will enable to transport the oil by-passing the Bosporus and the Dardanelles on the Black Sea. Earlier, it had proposed to discharge the Bosporus by constructing the Burgas-Alexandrupolis pipeline (Bulgaria-Greece). However, the new pro-American government of Bulgaria decided to cease the realization of projects that were implemented jointly with the Russian companies.