Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Ankara last week for talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The biggest news coming out of the visit was Putin’s announcement that he is scrapping the South Stream pipeline project that was to bring Russian gas to Southern Europe. Putin cited the European Union’s opposition to the project as the reason for the cancellation. The EU has raised concerns that the Russian state-owned energy firm Gazprom would own both the pipeline infrastructure and the gas being transported, which would violate the EU's competition laws in the energy sector.
South Stream, originally agreed upon in 2007, was to transport Russian gas through a pipeline under the Black Sea to Bulgaria, bypassing Ukraine. Russia has already spent $5 billion on the project.
In lieu of South Stream, Russia is shifting its attentions to Turkey. On Dec. 1, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller announced plans to build a new pipeline under the Black Sea that would deliver 63 billion cubic meters of gas, the same capacity South Stream was intended to carry, to Turkey. The pipeline would turn Turkey into a crucial energy partner for Russia and a major international energy hub.