Russia goes around Ukraine on gas deal to Europe

Moscow, Russia. In yet another bypass of Ukrainian commerce, the Russian giant Gazprom is starting construction of a pipeline under the Black Sea with Turkey, this will deliver the gas directly to Europe and avoid paying Ukraine one penny for transit of their pipelines with Russian gas.

Russian gas firm Gazprom said Sunday construction had begun of a gas pipeline under the Black Sea to Turkey meant to eventually also serve the European Union by-passing Ukrainian lines, long argued over.

“Construction of the TurkStream gas pipeline began in the Black Sea near the Russian coast,” Gazprom said in a statement.

“Implementation of the project is on schedule and our Turkish and European partners will from the end of 2019 have a reliable new route for importing Russian gas,” said Gazprom’s chief executive Alexei Miller announced in Moscow.

Russia first floated the project in 2014 after the EU blocked plans for a pipeline under the Black Sea to Bulgaria at the height of the Ukraine crisis, the crisis has since gotten much worse, with Russia simply going around Ukraine in business moves that will cost Ukraine a tremendous amount of money on a yeary basis.

A diplomatic crisis following the shooting down of a Russian bomber overflying the Turkish-Syrian border delayed the project, which was revived when bilateral relations were mended last year. Two gas lines capable of carrying 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas per year will be built.

Turkstream Russia aims to not only reinforce its capacity to deliver gas to Turkey, but to also make it a transit country in place of Ukraine, providing Europe with a dependable supply of gas, free of the instability of Russia’s neighbor now out of control.