Turkey and Russia have signed an agreement for the construction of the planned TurkStream gas pipeline that would take Russia natural gas under Turkish waters in the Black Sea towards Europe.
The agreement was signed by Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Turkish counterpart Berat Albayrak in Istanbul. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan supervised the signing of the deal that took place on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress.
The agreement foresees the construction of two lines of pipe on the bed of the Black Sea.
The annual capacity of each line is to be 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas (bcma) making a total capacity of over 30 bcma, said Alexei Miller, the chief executive of Russian gas giant Gazprom.
The agreement aims to build the lines by 2019, AFP quoted Miller as saying.
He further added that the first line of the gas pipeline will be used to transport gas to Turkish consumers and the second to pipe to Europe.
The plan to build TurkStream was dramatically announced by Putin in December 2014 in Ankara, as a replacement for the South Stream pipeline that was to have been built in cooperation with EU countries, AFP added.
South Stream was scrapped after years of planning, with Putin angrily blaming Brussels for its failure.
The TurkStream project, however, languished amid uncertainty after the crisis triggered by the shooting down of a Russian war plane by Turkish forces over the Syrian border in November 2015.
The agreement signed in Istanbul represents a concrete symbol of the desire of both parties to bring the much-discussed TurkStream project to fruition, AFP emphasized.