Putin says Europe will have buyers after Turkish gas hub is completed
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday said a Turkish natural gas hub could be set up fairly quickly and predicted many customers in Europe would want to sign contracts.
Putin proposed Turkey as a base for gas supplies earlier this month on the sidelines of a conference in the Kazakh capital Astana, after the Nord Stream pipelines under the Baltic Sea were damaged in September by blasts.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he agrees with the idea. He said he already instructed the relevant authorities to start work on the project.
"It [a gas hub in Turkey] is quite a realistic project, and we can do it fairly quickly. There will be enough of those who will want to conclude contracts. There’s no doubt about that," Putin said in a televised news conference.
Russian President said it was very difficult to work directly with European commercial partners. The European Union, which previously turned to Russia for about 40% of its gas needs, is seeking to wean itself off Russian energy.
"As for the choice of Turkey as a potential hub for supplies, in this case, to Europe, I think it’s clear why we are doing this, why we are proposing this. It is easier for us to work with Turkey. First of all, it’s because President Erdogan is a man of word. Although it may sometimes be hard for us to come to terms, if we agree on anything, we are trying to fulfill it. And, secondly, together it is easier for us to control the Black Sea area," the Russian leader added.