Europe might be feeling a bit slighted by Turkey in reference to their proposed Nabucco pipeline that will transport natural gas from Asia into Europe. The benefits and viability of Nabucco for the countries involved have been difficult to pinpoint. Turkey has shown support for the pipeline in the past. Recently, however, Turkey’s energy minister, Taner Yildiz, signed an agreement with Azerbaijan to construct an estimated $5 billion Trans-Anatolian natural gas pipeline.
Yildiz also made a deal with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to build a South Stream pipeline under the Black Sea through Turkish territorial waters. Both the Trans-Anatolian pipeline and the South Stream pipeline push forward Europe’s goal of energy diversification. These two pipelines also give credibility to Turkey’s geopolitical development. Turkey is well on the road to become a major energy player in the region as well as an important transit country.
These deals for the Trans-Anatolian and South Stream pipelines might undermine Europe’s Nabucco pipeline. Unline Nabucco, the Trans-Anatolian pipeline will have a guaranteed gas supply. The most important partner in the Trans-Anatolian pipeline is Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil company, SOCAR. SOCAR currently manages the Shah Deniz II gas field with BP, removing any supply problems. BP currently operates its oil and gas empire across six continents.
The region’s dominant supplier is a stakeholder in this new pipeline. The Trans-Anatolian and South Stream pipelines will bring a combined 70 billion cubic meters of gas into Europe each year. These pipelines are major competitors for Nabucco. The benefits of the Trans-Anatolian pipeline for Turkey are clear. 16 billion cubic meters are slated annually for the pipeline. 6 of those will be reserved for domestic use at low prices. The surplus will be distributed to outside countries. As for South Stream, is is assumed that Turkey got some concessions out of the deal, but will see no other direct returns. South Stream will transport 60 billion cubic meters under the Black Sea.
Turkey is on the upward move. There are few ways for individual investors to gain exposure into Turkey. One of the low-risk, hassle-free ways is through leveraged ETFs. The iShares MSCI Turkey Invest Market Index (TUR) provides direct exposure into Turkey. Most of TUR’s holdings are financials, with a small amount of exposure to energy.
For more exposure to energy, the SPDR S&P Emerging Europe ETF (GUR) is largely weighted in the energy sector. GUR provides exposure to both Russia and Turkey. So to take advantage of the South Stream and Trans-Anatolian pipeline deals, GUR could provide the best possible exposure. BP is also a strong player in this deal, especially when it comes to the Trans-Anatolian line.