1/30/2009

Turkey possible winner in Russia-Ukraine gas dispute says expert

RIA Novosti - A Ukrainian energy expert said Russia came out on top in the recent gas dispute with Ukraine but believes that Turkey could prove to be the outright winner as the EU seeks alternative gas routes. Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom and Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz finally signed a long-awaited contract on gas supplies to Ukraine following a dispute which saw gas deliveries to Europe cut off. The EU called the situation "incredible and unacceptable" and said the EU companies could sue Russia and Ukraine if supplies were not restored. "Today's tactical advantage could actually result in a loss of Russia's strategic national interests. Let's see what conclusions Europe makes" Alexander Narbut, an independent Ukrainian energy expert, said at an energy round-table in Ukraine. Narbut said that he believes the real winner could turn out to be Turkey, "Soon we'll find out whether the Nabucco project moves from the dormant phase to the more active" and in any case, he added, the current circumstances mean that Turkey may receive not only economic but also geopolitical priority. The Nabucco pipeline project is being touted as the best option for reducing Europe's dependence on Russian gas. The pipeline is expected to link energy-rich Central Asia to Europe through Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria and has been tentatively scheduled to begin in 2010.

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