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Turkish Stream may shut down, Radio Liberty reports

The Turkish Stream gas pipeline is at risk of being shut down - the pipeline operator, South Stream Transport B.V., had its license revoked on September 17. The license was revoked on September 17 which, according to the European legislation in force, should result in a complete shutdown of the pipeline, Radio Liberty reports citing a document from the Dutch Central Import and Export Office (CDIU) as well as sources close to the company.

Radio Liberty also cites a fragment from a letter of the company's CEO Oleg Aksyutin, which says the withdrawal of the license forces him “to suspend all contracts relating to technical support of the pipeline (including design, manufacture, assembly, testing, repair, maintenance and training (in relation to the approved work on the pipeline), all kinds of support, including verbal support.” At the same time, the commercial transportation of gas must be stopped, the pipeline must use only technical gas to maintain its operability.

Because of the sanctions, the pipeline operator is now unable to properly maintain the pieline, since all the necessary materials and equipment have been included in the sanctions lists. Another letter, partially cited by Radio Liberty, has the urgent requirement to suspend all contracts with suppliers from September 16, 2022, and provides a list of companies whose representatives must be notified: Comita, Subsea7, StarCOE, Valveitalia, Norrexim, Intecsea, Gazprom Transgaz Krasnodar and Starstroy.

“The pipe lies at a depth of 3 kilometers, the seismic situation is rather complicated in the entire Black Sea basin, there are tectonic plate faults, and the integrity of the pipeline has to be constantly monitored. There are special ships for this purpose. At the moment, all of this work has been completely suspended,” Radio Liberty’s source says.

The radio’s sources claim that South Stream Transport has applied for a new license, but no one can guarantee a renewal, so at the moment the pipeline is at risk of being shut down. Radio Liberty also notes the company has not yet notified Turkey, which is the main consumer of gas along the route, about the problems and its work without a license.

At the moment, Turkish Stream remains the last route of gas supplies to Europe, which has been working without interruptions. The Yamal-Europe pipeline, which ran through Poland, was shut down back in May, while the Ukrainian gas pipeline system is only running at one-third capacity, primarily due to military operations, with Gazprom threatening to cut off supplies via Ukraine as well, and the Nord Stream pipeline having been damaged. The main European consumers of gas from Turkish Stream are Bulgaria, Greece, Northern Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary.

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