Turkey and Russia Talk Energy As EU Drafts Emergency Plans on Gas Usage

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to work on a proposal for energy deals. 

It comes as the European Union sets out emergency plans today to curb gas usage after Putin warned the bloc that gas supplies from Russia via the biggest pipeline, Nord Stream 1, were at risk of being further reduced. 

Erdogan discussed with Putin paying for Russian energy imports in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. The two countries have been working on a proposal for local currency trade payments. This includes energy deals between Turkey and Russia. 

Russia is a major source of energy for Turkey, providing a quarter of the country’s crude oil imports last year, and about 45 percent of its natural gas purchases. 

Russia’s oil production is recovering for a third consecutive month, despite unprecedented sanctions from the West that were intended to cripple the country. 

Russia has been accused of using energy supplies as a negotiating weapon against Europe. 

Russian gas giant Gazprom is curbing its exports to Europe. Nord Stream 1’s gas pipeline has been shut down for an annual maintenance period of 10 days and is supposed to resume tomorrow. But supplies had already previously been reduced even before the maintenance because of disputes over sanctioned parts. They may now face even more cuts. 

Deliveries through Nord Stream 1 account for more than a third of Russian gas exports to the EU.  The bloc fears Russia cutting off the gas will wreak economic and political havoc in Europe this winter. 

Putin said this week that it is the West’s own fault that the flow of Russian natural gas to European customers has dwindled, and warned it could continue to diminish. Putin’s statement cranks up even more pressure on the EU. 

Speaking to Russian reporters in Tehran after meeting with the leaders of Turkey and Iran, Putin said the amount of gas pumped through Nord Stream 1 will fall further from 60 million to 30 million cubic meters a day, which is about one-fifth of its capacity. 

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