Russia to extend gas reach despite U.S. opposition - Bloomberg

Russia is set to extend its gas grip to Turkey and southern Europe despite U.S. efforts, Bloomberg said on Monday.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Monday met his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in Istanbul for the celebration of the completion of the 930-kilometre (578 miles) underwater part of the TurkStream pipeline.

The dual pipeline will begin to transport Russian gas across the Black Sea to Turkey next year. It may even stretch further, to the southern borders of the European Union, Bloomberg said. 

The construction of the underwater part of the pipeline has been completed despite the United States expressing concerns that the Kremlin's project hurts EU energy security, according to Bloomberg. 

Washington has not imposed sanctions on Turkstream yet, but even if it does, the Kremlin will rule out restrictions concerning the issue, Bloomberg said. 

In July, the United States and the European Union agreed to work towards boosting natural gas trade. Thus, the Kremlin's aims to expand its gas grip to Europe are not welcomed by Washington, according to Bloomberg.

The TurkStream pipeline will become Russia’s second offshore gas link to Turkey, in addition to the Blue Stream. Russian authorities believe that the project will help Russia's Gazprom to reach two strategic goals; increasing independence on transit routes via Ukraine and its market share in Turkey.

With the TurkStream project, Gazprom aims to cut shipments via Ukraine, which remains the main transit route for Russian gas despite a standoff with Kremlin.

Turkey is a top-three buyer of Russian gas and the largest market in southeastern Europe. The country’s demand reached 53.6 billion cubic meters, a rise of more than 15 percent on the previous year, according to Bloomberg.