Turkey is in great demand at the moment as gas producers and consumers try to build for the future. Only last month Ankara formally agreed to host the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline which, along with the South Stream project, puts Turkey in pole position as a regional power.
Crucially for Europe, the project will allow the bloc to reduce its heavy reliance on gas from Russia. Recent disputes over payment by transitting countries have seen supplies to energy-hungry Europe disrupted at the height of winter. Nabucco will by-pass Russia, bringing gas from Central Asia and the Middle East via Turkey to central Europe. It will cost about eight billion euros to construct, should deliver about 31 billion cubic metres of gas a year, with the first deliveries expected in 2014. Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iraq are among gas producers expected to send supplies to Europe. Russia currently supplies about a quarter of Western Europe’s gas needs, and despite last winter’s disruption, is expected to keep its place in the market with analysts forecasting a rise in demand. Nabucco’s rival, South Stream, is a joint venture between Russia’s Gazprom and Italian oil firm Eni. It also heads for Europe, but under the Black Sea. It’s expected to cost a little more to build, and start deliveries a year after Nabucco, but could carry twice as much gas. Demand for gas is seen as growing hugely in Europe, and Nabucco and South Stream aim to supply that soaring need.