Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia could redirect supplies intended for the damaged Nord Stream pipelines to the Black Sea to create a European gas hub in Turkey, or even use the one intact part of Nord Stream 2 to supply the EU, Reuters reported.
An investigation is underway into explosions last month that ruptured the Russian-built Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines on the bed of the Baltic Sea.
Putin said it was possible to repair the pipelines but that Russia and Europe should decide their fate.
“We could move the lost volumes from the Nord Streams along the bottom of the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea region and thus make the main routes for the supply of our fuel, our natural gas to Europe through Turkey, creating the largest gas hub for Europe in Turkey,” he said at an energy conference in Moscow.
“That is, of course, if our partners are interested in this. And economic feasibility, of course.”
Putin’s decision to send troops into Ukraine has prompted European buyers to say they will wean themselves off Russian oil and gas and look for alternative suppliers.
Russia is the world’s second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and the top natural gas exporter.
Putin also said that Russian gas could still be supplied to Europe through one remaining intact part of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline but the ball was now in the EU’s court on whether it wanted that to happen.
“It is possible to repair gas pipelines running along the bottom of the Baltic Sea, but this will only make sense if they are further economically justified,” he said, adding that the security of the pipeline would have to be ensured.
“And there is one branch of the Nord Stream-2, apparently which survived,” Putin said. “Russia is ready to start such deliveries, the ball, as they say, is in the court of the European Union.”
Three of the Nord Stream pipelines are damaged. That leaves only one line of Nord Stream 2, which has an annual capacity of 27.5 billion cubic meters, functional.
“We are ready to supply additional volumes in the autumn-winter period,” Putin said.
The pipelines, which have become a flashpoint in the Ukraine crisis, have been leaking gas into the Baltic Sea off the coast of Denmark and Sweden.
Europe suspects an act of sabotage that Moscow quickly sought to pin on the West, suggesting the United States stood to gain.
Putin said that Russia plans to hold oil production and exports at current levels until 2025, saying Moscow would not cede its world-leading position in the global energy market despite Western sanctions.
Putin also hailed the OPEC+ group, which last week announced it would slash production in a bid to keep oil prices high, and said Russia intended to carry on working with the Saudi Arabia-led OPEC group.
“We hope that these decisions will suit both oil producers and consumers,” Putin. “The coordination of the actions of OPEC+ partners will definitely continue to ensure the stability and predictability of the market.”