September 18, 2015
Russia’s traditional use of pipeline diplomacy in Europe has been constrained by new geopolitical and market realities. The latest gambit from Moscow to exert leverage is the planned Turkish Stream gas pipeline, which last year replaced the cancelled South Stream project. Whether it will succeed is questionable, especially after Gazprom acknowledged on September 14 that Turkey’s political crisis had delayed the pipeline’s start date. Meanwhile, Russia faces a host of economic, financial, regulatory and political challenges on the European gas market that could frustrate its strategy of circumventing Ukraine. The best of Moscow’s dwindling options may be to scale back Turkish Stream to no more than half of its projected annual capacity of 63 billion cubic metres.