revista presei 14 ianuarie

2010/01/14

ziare.com: Constructia reactoarelor 3 si 4 de la Cernavoda incepe in septembrie

Constructia reactoarelor 3 si 4 de la Cernavoda va incepe la timp, in ciuda informatiilor potrivit carora in urmatoarele luni ar putea urma o renegociere a pachetului de actiuni pe care statul il detine in acest proiect.

Astfel, lucrarile ar urma sa inceapa in luna septembrie, dupa finalizarea etapei pre-proiect, informeaza Ziarul Financiar.

Adriean Videanu, ministrul Economiei, declara recent ca este in analiza posibilitatea reducerii participatiei de 51% pe care statul o are in acest proiect, ceea ce ar duce la noi negocieri privind impartirea actiunilor pentru Unitatile 3 si 4.

Potrivit unor surse, statul roman ar urma sa revina la participatia de 20% pe care o detinea initial.

In prezent, actionarii EnergoNuclear sunt Nuclearelectrica – 51%, CEZ (Cehia) – 9,15%, Enel (Italia) – 9,15%, RWE Power (Germania) – 9,15%, GDF SUEZ (Franta) – 9,15%, Iberdrola (Spania) – 6,2%, ArcelorMittal Romania – 6,2%.

ziare.com: Nuclearelectrica face angajari pentru reactoarele 3 si 4

Nuclearelectrica intentioneaza sa angajeze in acest an circa 30-40 de persoane care vor intra intr-un program de pregatire pentru operarea reactoarelor nucleare 3 si 4 de la Cernavoda.

Constructia unitatilor ar trebui sa inceapa in luna septembrie si reprezinta cel mai ambitios proiect energetic al Romaniei in ceea ce priveste constructia de unitati noi, informeaza Ziarul Financiar.

Valoarea acestuia este estimata la 4 miliarde de euro, finalizarea fiind stabilita pentru anul 2016.

De realizarea proiectului se ocupa in prezent circa 30 de persoane care provin din partea actionarilor EnergoNuclear, compania de proiect care va realiza cele doua reactoare noi de la Cernavoda, in componenta careia sa afla giganti internationali cum ar fi Enel (Italia), RWE (Germania), CEZ (Cehia) sau GDF SUEZ (Franta).

“Nuclearelectrica, pornind de la premisa ca va fi operatorul unitatilor 3 si 4, intentioneaza sa angajeze in cursul acestui an un numar de 30-40 persoane, reprezentand personal cheie de operare, cu scopul de a fi pregatiti pentru operarea grupurilor, aceasta in conditiile in care programele de pregatire sunt de lunga durata, 5-6 ani”, spun reprezentantii Nuclearelectrica.

money.ro: Gazprom a înfiinţat un departament pentru proiectul South Stream

Monopolul rusesc al gazelor naturale, Gazprom, a înfiinţat un departament pentru coordonarea activităţilor de realizare a proiectului ruso-italian South Stream, considerat concurent al proiectului Nabucco, anunţă miercuri un comunicat al companiei, citat de RIA Novosti.
“În responsabilitatea departamentului intră coordonarea activităţilor de proiectare şi construire a gazoductului South Stream (…), realizarea sectorului maritim al proiectului, modernizarea infrastructurii de transportare a gazului, precum şi înfiinţarea de infrastructuri în statele participante la proiectul South Stream”, se arată în comunicat.

South Stream este considerat un concurent pentru proiectul Nabucco, susţinut de Uniunea Europeană şi destinat să aducă gaz de la Marea Caspică ocolind Rusia, pentru a diminua dependenţa europeană de gazul rusesc.

Cinci ţări – Bulgaria, Serbia, Ungaria, Grecia şi Slovenia – deja s-au alăturat proiectului South Stream, un gazoduct a cărui demarare oficială este prevăzută în 2013, conducta urmând să aibă o capacitate ce ar putea atinge 63 de miliarde de metri cubi pe an. De asemenea, de desfăşoară negocieri cu Croaţia în acest proiect.

Proiectul South Stream, care presupune costuri de construcţie de circa 15 de miliarde euro, prevede transportul anual a 31 miliarde metri cubi de gaz – cu posibilitatea creşterii capacităţii la 63 miliarde metri cubi ulterior – din Asia Centrală către Europa, evitând Ucraina, cu care Moscova a avut deja mai multe conflicte legate de tranzitul gazului rusesc către principale pieţe europene. Conducta South Stream va avea o lungime de 900 kilometri, iar primele livrări ar trebui să înceapă în 2015, deşi iniţial era vorba de 2013. South Stream va fi alimentat cu gaz din Rusia, Asia Centrală şi Kazahstan, potrivit Moscovei. South Stream urmează să treacă pe sub Marea Neagră, legând Rusia de Bulgaria, de unde se va împărţi în două, o parte îndreptându-se spre Serbia şi Austria, cealaltă spre Grecia şi Italia. Unii observatori se îndoiesc de argumentele economice şi de fezabilitatea South Stream din cauza faptului că specificitatea fundului Mării Negre presupune o tehnologie mai avansată, iar costurile sunt mai mari.

Hotnews: Vladimir Putin: Turcia va accepta in 2010 ca Rusia sa construiasca segmentul South Stream

Premierul rus, Vladimir Putin, a dat asigurari miercuri ca Turcia isi va da acordul in acest an pentru constructia gazoductului South Stream, in contextul in care aceasta tara este de asemenea implicata in proiectul concurent Nabucco, relateaza AFP.

“Am ajuns la un acord ca pana la 10 noiembrie 2010 Guvernul turc sa realizeze evaluari si sa ne permita sa construim” South Stream, a spus Vladimir Putin la finalul unei intalniri cu omologul sau turc, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turcia, membra a consortiului care dezvolta gazoductul rival Nabucco, a acceptat, anul trecut, in principiu, ca Rusia sa construiasca un segment de gazoduct prin apele sale teritoriale. Proiectul South Stream este derulat de grupurile rus Gazprom si italian Eni.

In ceea ce priveste constructia oleoductului Samsun-Ceyhan, care va transporta petrolul rusesc spre Europa, ocolind Ucraina, Putin a propus semnarea unui “acord tripartit intre Turcia, Rusia si Italia”.

Gazoductul South Stream, concurent al proiectului Nabucco, sustinut de Uniunea Europeana, ar trebui sa transporte gazul rusesc spre Europa, pe sub Marea Neagra, ocolind Ucraina. Oficial, demararea proeictului este prevazuta pentru 2013.

Ziua: Kommersant: Proiectul South Stream ar putea fi anulat dupa alegerile din Ucraina

Rusia ar putea renunta la constructia gazoductului ruso-italian South Stream, proiect ce ocoleste Ucraina, daca in urma alegerilor prezidentiale de duminica la Kiev va veni un om mai loial Moscovei, considera experti din Turcia citati miercuri de Kommersant, noteaza NewsIn.

Principalul subiect al negocierilor de miercuri de la Moscova dintre premierul rus Vladimir Putin si omologul sau turc Recep Erdogan va fi energia, inclusiv realizarea proiectului South Stream. “Pentru Rusia, in continuare, de importanta sunt proiectele de transport al gazelor in Europa, ocolind Ucraina. In august, Ankara a autorizat Rusia sa inceapa lucrarile de explorare pentru construirea gazoductului South Stream prin zona sa economica din Marea Neagra. Mai mult, partile au semnat un protocol pentru proiectul gazoductului Blue Stream-2 pe sub Marea Neagra din Novorossiisk spre Turcia si apoi spre Orientul Mijlociu si probabil pana in Cipru. Moscova intentioneaza sa inceapa deja constructia gazoductului South Stream in noiembrie, insa Turcia deocamdata nu si-a dat acordul pentru amplasarea conductei, considerat vital pentru soarta proiectului”, scrie publicatia rusa.
Potrivit unor surse din guvernul Rusiei si din Gazprom, citate de Kommersant, la negocierile de miercuri nu se intentioneaza semnarea unor documente ce vizeaza proiectul. Potrivit publicatiei Today’s Zaman din Turcia, citata de Kommersant, “in timpul negocierilor de azi (miercuri – n.r.) premierul turc ar putea invita Rusia in proiectul constructiei gazoductului Nabucco”. In acelasi timp, scrie cotidianul rus, publicatia “nu precizeaza in ce calitate va participa Gazprom in acest proiect, ce presupune constructia gazoductului din Turcia spre statele UE, ocolind Rusia”. De asemenea, expertii turci spun ca “pentru Moscova participarea in proiectul Nabucco poate fi avantajoasa din punctul de vedere al unei rute suplimentare de export a gazului asiatic”. “Dupa ce va fi ales noul presedinte al Ucrainei, proiectul South Stream poate fi anulat. De ce trebuie sa cheltuiesti 25 de miliarde de dolari pentru realizarea sectorului maritim al gazoductului, cand la Kiev va aparea un presedinte mai loial Moscovei?”, se intreaba publicatia turca. Proiectul South Stream, care presupune costuri de constructie de circa 15 de miliarde euro, prevede transportul anual a 31 miliarde metri cubi de gaz – cu posibilitatea cresterii capacitatii la 63 miliarde metri cubi ulterior – din Asia Centrala catre Europa, evitand Ucraina, cu care Moscova a avut deja mai multe conflicte legate de tranzitul gazului rusesc catre principale piete europene. Conducta South Stream va avea o lungime de 900 kilometri, iar primele livrari ar trebui sa inceapa in 2015, desi initial era vorba de 2013. South Stream va fi alimentat cu gaz din Rusia, Asia Centrala si Kazahstan, potrivit Moscovei. South Stream urmeaza sa treaca pe sub Marea Neagra, legand Rusia de Bulgaria, de unde se va imparti in doua, o parte indreptandu-se spre Serbia si Austria, cealalta spre Grecia si Italia. Unii observatori se indoiesc de argumentele economice si de fezabilitatea South Stream din cauza faptului ca specificitatea fundului Marii Negre presupune o tehnologie mai avansata, iar costurile sunt mai mari. In acelasi timp, adauga publicatia rusa, “aparent Moscova nu numai ca nu este pregatita sa renunte la ideea proiectului South Stream, ci, din contra, accelereaza realizarea acestuia. In urmatoarele zile compania rusa Gazprom va crea o companie mixta cu Banca de Dezvoltare din Ungaria, Magyar Fejlesztesi Bank, pentru constructia unei ramificatii a gazoductului South Stream catre Ungaria. Astfel, astazi, premierul rus Vladimir Putin si omologul sau turc Recep Erdogan urmeaza sa discute strategia actiunilor comune si, probabil, sa decida soarta proiectelor South Stream si Nabucco”.

Vocea Rusiei: Rusia-Turcia: Energetică politică sau politică energetică?

Foto: RIA Novosti
Relaţiile ruso-turce sunt la înălţime, iar cooperarea este de parteneriat strategic, a menţionat Dmitri Medvedev la întâlnirea cu premierul turc. Moscova şi Ankara sunt vecine, iar de cât de apropiate sunt poziţiile lor depinde microclimatul din întreaga regiune. Un loc important în cadrul cooperării dintre cele două ţări îl ocupă energia. Părţile lucrează deja la mari proiecte comune.

Tayyip Erdogan a fost de acord cu liderul rus, subliniind că Moscova şi Ankara încă n-au epuizat toate posibilităţile şi urmează să întreprindă paşi foarte importanţi în ce priveşte construirea infrastructurii energetice. Este vorba despre participarea Rusiei la proiectul „Samsun-Ceyhan”.

Conducta petrolieră a început să fie construită în 2007 şi urmează să fie dată în exploatare în anul 2011. Acum va participa şi Rusia la construirea acestei conducte. În ultimul timp, relaţiile ruso-turce din sfera energetică se dezvoltă vertiginos, a menţionat în interviul pentru „Vocea Rusiei” directorul Fondului pentru Securitatea Energetică Naţională, Konstantin Simonov.

“Cu doi ani în urmă, Rusia şi Turcia se aflau în stadiul conflictelor permanente. De exemplu, Ankara împiedica mereu trecerea prin Bosfor şi Dardanelle a petrolierelor noastre. Propunerea Rusiei de a construi un gazoduct a fost refuzată, motivând că fac acest lucru din considerente ecologice. Guvernul turc, experţii au vorbit permanent că trebuie dezvoltate livrările din Asia Centrală către Europa, că Rusia este un partener nesigur. Şi iată că în anul 2009 situaţia s-a schimbat principial. La ora actuală, vedem că Turcia consideră conducerea rusă drept partener prioritar.

Chiar şi proiectul South Stream va trece prin teritoriul Turciei. S-a discutat şi tema colaborării în domeniul petrolier. Conducta de petrol Samsun-Ceyhan este necesară Turciei şi în mare parte prezintă interes din punctul de vedere al extinderii tranzitului în Europa prin teritoriul turcesc. Acolo, de fapt, este planificat  nu numai transportul petrolului rusesc.

Extinderea livrărilor de petrol pe sub Marea Neagră nu este problema noastră cea mai mare, mai ales că participarea noastră la proiectul Samsun-Ceyhan, practic, pune sub semnul întrebării realizarea unui alt proiect important, despre care Rusia a făcut multe declaraţii, am în vedere oleoductul Burgas-Alexandrupolis. Se naşte întrebarea, dacă Rusia trebuie să participe la ambele proiecte, din care cauză proiectul Samsun-Ceyhan capătă o rezonanţă mai mult politică. Pentru Rusia, Turcia reprezintă un partener strategic în domeniul tranzitului. În această privinţă facem paşi de întâmpinare în direcţia Ankarei”.

Parteneriatul energetic dintre Moscova şi Ankara a devenit problema centrală la întâlnirea dintre premierul turc şi premierul rus. De asemenea, compania rusă „Stroitransgaz” duce tratative privind participarea la privatizarea companiei de distribuire a gazului din Istanbul. Compania „Gazprom”, care furnizează gaz Turciei, este dispusă să livreze un volum suplimentar de gaz. Concernul rus „Silovâe maşinâ” examinează posibilitatea participării la construcţia a 4 mari electrocentrale.

RIA Novosti: Russia offers Turkey asset swaps, aid in Armenian relations

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia and Turkey could swap their energy assets and suggested Moscow help Turkey improve its ties with ex-Soviet Armenia.

“Russia has been a reliable supplier of energy resources to Turkey,” Putin told a news conference following talks with his visiting Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, which focused on the two countries’ joint oil, gas and electricity projects.

Putin said Russian companies wish to take part in the privatization program being carried out by the Turkish government. Russia’s Stroytransgaz engineering construction company was earlier reported to be in talks on a stake in Istanbul’s gas distribution company.

Putin said Wednesday’s talks were dominated by the South Stream and Blue Stream natural gas pipelines as well as the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline, describing the former two as “most important for Russia and Turkey, as well as the whole continent.”

Turkey gave preliminary approval in August 2009 for Russia to use its sector of the Black Sea for the South Stream pipeline to pump Russian and Central Asian gas to Europe, bypassing Ukraine.

Russia agreed to join a consortium to build the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. The two states also agreed to expand the existing Blue Stream gas pipeline for possible shipments via Turkey to Cyprus and Israel.

The agreements support Turkey’s drive to become a regional hub for gas and oil transits while helping Moscow diversify supply routes and potentially maintain its monopoly on natural gas shipments from Asia to Europe.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, in charge of the energy and fuel sector, said ahead of the talks on Wednesday that Russia plans “a proactive role” in the oil consortium, adding its share in the project is being discussed at the moment.

Putin said Russia also seeks to build conventional and nuclear power plants in Turkey.

The two countries signed a joint statement on Wednesday regarding plans to build a nuclear power plant on Turkish soil.

Erdogan said his country was completing preparations for the signing of a formal agreement on the construction of a nuclear power plant on its territory. Putin said Russia had “significant advantages over other competitors” in the deal.

Speaking about Turkey’s ties with Armenia, Putin said their improvement should not be linked to the settlement of its fellow Muslim ally Azerbaijan’s dispute with Armenia over the Nagorny Karabakh region.

Turkey and Armenia agreed to restore diplomatic ties and improve bilateral relations last October, but some politicians in Ankara said the historic agreements can only be ratified after the Karabakh issue is resolved.

Ankara also demands Yerevan drop its campaign to have the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 internationally recognized as genocide.

“Since Nagorny Karabakh and Turkish-Armenian relations are complex issues, I do not think they should be addressed in one package,” Putin told the news conference, adding that this would delay the solutions.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in the dispute even before the breakup of the Soviet Union. Russia has been driving efforts to reach a settlement in the conflict over the ethnic-Armenian region in Azerbaijan, which has been de facto independent since the 1990s.

Putin pledged further efforts to resolve both problems in a bid to improve the situation in the South Caucasus region.

Russia, which traditionally backed Armenia in its disputes with Azerbaijan and Turkey, has recently stepped up economic ties with the latter two nations. Russia is home to millions of ethnic Azerbaijanis and Armenians.

Speaking at the news conference, Erdogan said Turkey and Russia are preparing to switch to national currencies in mutual payments to avoid reserve currency fluctuations.

Erdogan also said the two states could annul travel visas by spring, when Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is due to visit Turkey.

Russians, many of who spend their vacations at Turkish resorts, currently enjoy simplified visa regulations, and can buy visas at airports upon arrival.

RIA Novosti: Medvedev hails energy cooperation with Turkey

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev praised energy cooperation with Turkey on Wednesday and said he looked to joint efforts in addressing regional disputes.

Meeting with visiting Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at his country residence near Moscow, Medvedev highlighted joint gas and oil projects: “We are happy to maintain serious cooperation in this sphere.”

Russia and Turkey signed energy deals in August 2009, which will support Turkey’s drive to become a regional hub for gas and oil transits while helping Moscow diversify supply routes and potentially maintain its monopoly on natural gas shipments from Asia to Europe.

Turkey allowed Russia’s Gazprom to use its sector of the Black Sea for the South Stream pipeline to pump Russian and Central Asian gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine. And Russia agreed to join a consortium to build the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.

The two states also agreed to expand the existing Blue Stream gas pipeline for possible shipments via Turkey to Cyprus and Israel.

Russia was also reported to be seeking to take part in the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plants.

Echoing the Russian leader, Erdogan highlighted the importance of energy ties and said their countries enjoy “an exemplary cooperation” in the sector.

Medvedev said he hoped Erdogan’s current visit will promote “stronger ties between our countries,” which he said were important for “addressing complicated regional problems.”

Turkey upset its close ally Azerbaijan by agreeing to open diplomatic relations with Armenia late last year.

The two bitter rivals have been locked in a dispute over Nagorny Karabakh since before the breakup of the Soviet Union. Russia has been driving efforts to reach a settlement in the conflict over the ethnic-Armenian region in Azerbaijan, which has been de facto independent since the 1990s.

Meeting with Erdogan later on Wednesday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said global economic recession sent Russian-Turkish trade down 40% last year, from its all-time high of $35 billion in 2008, but Turkey remains one of Russia’s key trade partners, outpacing the United States and Britain.

russiatoday.com: Yamal gas development waits for demand rebound

Russia is promising tax breaks to lure foreign investors to strategic gas development projects on the Yamal peninsula, despite current demand levels which make them marginal value.

Gas deposits in the Yamal Peninsula are counted in the trillions of cubic metres, making up about 70% of Russia’s reserves. The Bovanenkovo deposit alone may yield 140 billion cubic meters a year. But billions of dollars are needed to extract the fuel from the permafrost, and Artyom Konchin from UniCredit says there is currently insufficient demand to make it worthwhile.

“The biggest problem is that we don’t really see as much of restoration in the consumption volumes and apparently the company itself doesn’t expect the same level of consumption in Europe until 2013. So, we do have a dip and it’s going to be slow to recover on top of new reserves arriving to the European markets in the way of LNG imports or conventional gas production.”

Responding to the demand slide, Gazprom, last year, announced launch delays for both the Bovanenkovo and Shtockman projects until the end of 2012. Dmitry Lyutyagin, chief analyst at Veles Capital says that may interfere with Gazprom’s plans to expand its short term presence in the LNG market.

“Russia’s share in LNG is now about 2%, but the goal is 20%. The delay of such projects as Bovanenkovo and Shtokman means that the construction of facilities to produce liquefied natural gas will also be postponed.”

Hoping for a fast demand recovery, Russia is keen to pursue the Yamal deposits however, and is inviting foreign investors to take part. Prime Minister Putin, visiting the region, even promised tax breaks for investors developing new gas fields.

But with Gazprom currently a production capacity of about 600 billion cubic metres a year, there is no need to rush. A greater call on available funds coming from transportation projects like Nord Stream and South Stream, or managing its $54 billion debt, and this means that Yamal is likely to be some time away from development.

russiatoday.com: Belarus, Russia oil impasse continues

After days of talks on a new oil transit deal, Belarus still insists it should get crude from Russia duty free, even though it sells most of it to Europe for a large profit.

Russia wants to shift to market prices with its neighbors but it’s reportedly ready to provide duty-free oil for the country’s domestic use, in an effort to solve the crisis.

Though 2009 ended without a deal oil is flowing. That’s because of what Russia describes as its “exclusive attitude” towards its neighbor and the desire of both sides to ensure profits don’t dry up says Viktor Markov, Senior Analyst at Zerich Capital Management.

“The main problem is that Belarus re-exports Russian crude to Europe and makes good profit from it. But Russia is losing money and wants Belarus to pay duties. However neither side wants to lose its profits and it is here that the conflict arises.”

Last year Minsk enjoyed discounts on Russian oil worth $2 billion.

In 2009 Belarus bought 21 million tonnes of Russian crude at a cheaper price than is made available to other nations and produced petrochemicals for export. Minsk was looking for a similar deal for 2010.

But Moscow says these terms are possible only for oil used domestically.

But some experts like Dmitry Aleksandrov, head of the research department at Univer Captial say the source of the spat could be something else.

“The price and the terms of Russian energy supplies to Belarus have always been connected with access for Russian companies to Belarusian industrial assets and major refineries. Here we are talking big money. The issue is about full or partial privatization of these assets.”

Belarusian oil demand in 2010 is expected to be about 8 million tonnes. Moscow has offered to sell 6 million tonnes duty-free – asking for full payment for exports to Europe.

Minsk rejected the deal and even threatened to cut electricity supplies going through its power grids to Russian exclave Kaliningrad which could force Russia to take a harsher position on crude duties believes Veles Capital chief analyst, Dmitry Lyutyagin.

“If Belarus decides to increase electricity transit fees, Russia will take a stiff position on crude duties without any compromise and that may cast a shadow on political relations as well as on the newly-formed Customs Union.”

Failing to reach an oil agreement with Russia, Belarus said it could back out of the union. But analysts say the entity is more beneficial for Belarus than for Russia, as Minsk can use benefits from oil supplies and sell refinery products to the West for more competitive prices.

energia.gr: Expert Warns Bulgaria Faces Difficult Mid-term Gas Scenario

Despite a drop in gas consumption in 2009, due to the economic crisis, a critical European decrease is unlikely until 2012, according to Bulgarian geopolitician Plamen Dimitrov.

Speaking on the topic of Bulgaria ‘s place on the new Eurasian energy map, the scientist noted that it was unrealistic to expect that the Nabucco natural gas pipeline would come onstream before 2016.

Dimitrov, a member of the board of the Bulgarian Geopolitics Society, has made this prediction at a news conference organized by the History Department of the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria .

This meant, according to him, that Bulgaria would not meantime attain a desirable level of diversification of supplies. The country therefore needed to ensure that inter-system links with Greece and Romania were built more quickly.

The EU had promised partial funding of these links, he noted, adding that other new shareholders, apart from Bulgaria , Russia and Greece , should be attracted to the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project.

The entity most affected by the reduction of natural gas consumption, Dimitrov said, is Russian supplier Gazprom. He noted that the company’s natural gas exports to European countries had decreased significantly, but that supplies to the Russian domestic market had declined even more dramatically.

Almost two-thirds of Gazprom’s output is sold inside Russia , he stated. The Russian market would recover more slowly than the rest of Europe , so that in the following few years Gazprom’s problem would be, not to extract enough gas for its customers, but to find enough customers for the extracted gas.

Speaking of difficulties elsewhere, Dimitrov said that tensions between Russia and Ukraine about natural gas supplies remain, and that these were not dependent on short-term political change in Ukraine .

“It is a delusion to believe that the tension will vanish or decrease if a pro-Russian candidate wins this month’s elections in Ukraine . This is a structural problem that will exist for a long time, and the threat of irregular natural gas supplies will remain,” Dimitrov concluded.

georgiandaily.com: Russia claims Turkish backing for pipeline

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said Russia had won Turkey’s backing for Moscow to build a key section of a new gas pipeline seen as a rival of an EU-backed project in Turkish waters.

Putin’s comments came after talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan that were the latest example of the expanding strategic relationship between Moscow and Ankara.

“We have agreed that by November 10 the Turkish government will carry out an audit and will give us the permission for the construction” of the South Stream pipeline, Putin said.

“The Turkish prime minister has confirmed this intention today,” he added.

Russia wants to build a section of the South Stream pipeline through Turkey’s portion of the Black Sea to create a new route for Russian gas to Europe that will by-pass Ukraine.

But Turkey is also a key player in the rival EU-backed Nabucco pipeline which aims to carry gas from the Caspian Sea region to Europe and is seen as a way of reducing European reliance on Russian gas.

Turkey in August agreed to allow Moscow to start surveys in its territorial waters in the Black Sea for South Stream.

Putin said the ecological surveys had already been completed while the seismological and geological surveys were 85-90 percent complete.

“The energy sphere has a very important significance. In this, we share a very developed cooperation,” Erdogan told Russian President Dimitry Medvedev in earlier talks at his country residence outside Moscow.

“Not only in the sphere of natural gas but in crude products there exist a whole series of opportunities,” he added.

NATO member Turkey, which has long pursued EU membership, has sought to downplay rivalry between the two competing pipelines.

It was unclear whether gas supplies were sufficient to fill two pipelines and Moscow has been keen to complete South Stream ahead of its rival, with plans to go online with the pipeline’s section in Turkish waters as early as 2013.

South Stream is being jointly developed by Russian gas giant Gazprom and Italy’s Eni.

Turkey in turn is seeking Russian support for a planned Turkish oil pipeline to be built from the Black Sea port of Samsun to Ceyhan on the Mediterranean.

Russia will play an active role in the project and the two sides are in talks over Moscow taking a stake, Russian deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin told reporters on the sidelines of the meetings.

Putin said he had floated the signing of a tripartite agreement between Italy, Russia and Turkey on the pipeline and added that Erdogan had agreed.

Turkey in November scrapped a 2008 tender won by a Russian-led consortium to build the country’s first nuclear power plant. But the two sides Wednesday signed a joint statement on a building a nuclear facility.

The two countries have also joined efforts to broker peace between ex-Soviet states Azerbaijan and Armenia, which are still technically at war over the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Shared concerns over stability in the Caucasus were tested as Russia fought a brief war with Georgia in August 2008, but Moscow has since played a role in the recent rapprochement between Turkey and its ally Armenia.

But Putin said the issue of Karabakh — which is complicating the ratification of a deal re-establishing diplomatic ties — should not be linked to Turkish-Armenian relations.

“I do not think it is right to put them in one package,” he said.

Russia is Turkey’s main gas supplier, accounting for about 60 percent of the country’s gas imports.

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