Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan met recently to patch up their bilateral relationship and revive the on again off again Turkish Stream pipeline project, presenting Russia with another opening to export its natural gas to western Europe.
Turkish Stream would theoretically transport Russian gas on the floor of the Black Sea to Kiyikoy, a city in northwestern Turkey before being shipped to Ipsala on the Turkish-Greek border for further distribution in Europe.
"Russia spent a lot of money on what was due to become South Stream, and is now looking for an alternative," Richard Mallinson, geopolitical analyst at Energy Aspects, said. Yet with record low prices for natural gas in Europe it is hard to see Turkish Stream going forward in its current guise.
Indeed, while individual EU countries like Greece might been keen for a new source of energy supply that could reduce costs, there are still significant political and practical challenges ahead, with any European pipeline expansion subject to the same EU approval processes as South Stream.
"At the moment at least, the EU is saying it would prefer alternatives, more LNG (liquid natural gas) import terminals, and more pipeline supplies from Caspian (Sea) - not Russian - sources," Mallinson said.