The Secretariat of the Energy Community, of which our country is a member, claims that this pipeline does not encourage competition as it is necessary, but damages it.
Still, the country on the part of the just completed Turkish Stream pipeline across Serbia has not even settled down, and there are objections from the Energy Community Secretariat, of which our country is a member. Neither the former nor probably the latter, since this project has been widely challenged by this European body from the outset, without their opinion being binding on us.
The secretariat this time, as reported on their website, has objections “to a draft decision by the Serbian regulatory authority on the certification of ‘Gastrans’ built by ‘Turkish Stream 2’. The Secretariat states that ‘Gastrans’ is not legally exempted from the separation clauses of the Gas Directive and that this project therefore does not encourage competition as it is necessary, but damages it”.
Accordingly, Gastrans does not qualify for unbundling outside the third energy package created by the Energy Agency. Therefore, AERS should make the final certification decision, fully respecting the secretariat’s opinion”.
As Politika finds out, AERS has already made that decision, but the EC Secretariat is angry that it is not in line with European, but with Serbian legislation.
Vojislav Vuletic, president of the Serbian Gas Association, says that the EU can only complain to Serbia, but there is not much left to do.
– Serbia, prior to the start of construction of this gas pipeline, passed a law which made it clear that this was not an international pipeline but a trunk pipeline, and thus legally regulated the exemption of “Turkish Stream” from European obligations. Therefore, the EU’s remarks should not affect our country at all. The EU simply does not like this part of Southeast Europe giving priority to Russian gas – says Vuletic.
The secretariat, as an extended arm of the European Union, adds, is well aware that there is no alternative to Russian gas. At least as far as quantities go.
– There is talk of Iranian, Cypriot, Azerbaijani gas, but these are minimal quantities that cannot secure a long-term supply of gas. Who would build 403 kilometers of gas pipeline across Serbia if they knew that gas would not be enough in five years? – he asks. The countries through which the Turkish Stream passes are building and investing money, because in the coming decades they can count on a secure supply of this energy, which Russia alone has enough at the moment, explains our source.
– The most important thing is for Bulgaria to finish its part of the route within the promised time period, so that through this main gas pipeline through Serbia it will start in the second half of the year, that is, before the start of the new heating season – Vuletic points out.
Ljubinko Savic, from the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, says that obtaining the certificate is not unusual, that it is part of the procedure, and that, since the pipeline receives a use permit, it should also receive a certificate. The certificate is obtained prior to obtaining licenses to practice, and the company submits the application to AERS.
It is obvious that the consent given to Gastrans does not correspond to the secretariat. There were the same objections when it came to the electricity sector, but the Serbian side made it work according to domestic regulations, despite the EC’s disagreement – he says.
Savic believes that a much bigger thorn in the eyes of the EU is that there has been no separation of gas production and supply, and expects that it will have to come to the agenda someday, but that this will not in any way jeopardize gas transit through the Turkish Stream.
Serbia also made an exception when it comes to the obligation of ownership unbundling, which is in accordance with Serbian law.
Srecko Djukic, an expert on international gas opportunities, says the EU is demanding that Gastrans work according to European rules. Now that the pipeline is completed, it should receive a use permit from the EC not to act contrary to European rules.
– The EC has the same criteria for all its members. If it were different, each country would only be able to comply with its regulations in terms of ownership structure and the dominant gas transportation of one producer. Therefore, it would be reasonable for AERS to act in accordance with the EC opinion and issue a certificate that complies with the said rules – says Djukic.
In addition, clear messages were coming from the very top of the Russian state throughout the construction of the Turkish Stream that the pipeline must be built in accordance with European legislation, Djukic reminds.
Either way, it is a fact that, in addition to the permanent lease, Serbia has foreseen to leave a certain percentage of gas to the companies that will transport the gas, as well as certain quantities for auction sale for the free market, Politika reports.