Putin suggests major gas hub in Turkey with Nord Stream supplies

An investigation is under way into explosions in September that ruptured the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines. PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said that Russia could redirect supplies for the damaged Nord Stream pipeline to the Black Sea to create a major European gas hub in Turkey, or even use the one intact part of Nord Stream 2 to supply the European Union.

An investigation is under way into explosions in September that ruptured the Russian-built Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines on the bed of the Baltic Sea.

President Putin said it was possible to repair the pipelines but that Russia and Europe should decide their fate.

"We could move the lost volumes along 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," Mr Putin said.

"That is, of course, if our partners are interested in this. And Economic feasibility, of course."

Mr 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 is now in the EU's court on whether it wants that to happen.

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 metres, functional.

Russia could open the gas taps on that line if Europe wanted it to, Mr 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 that the United States stood to gain. REUTERS

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