Gazprom sets December 2016 launch of Turkish Stream pipeline
Russian energy giant Gazprom announced Thursday that its new gas pipeline project Turkish Stream, supplying Russian gas to Turkey, will start operating in December next year.
"An agreement has been reached on putting the Turkish Stream into service and starting gas supplies in December 2016," Gazprom chief Alexei Miller was quoted as saying in a company statement after meeting Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz in Ankara.
The Turkish Stream pipeline unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in December 2014 will stretch around 1,100 kilometres (684 miles) to Turkey's border with Greece, via the Black Sea.
The pipeline is designed to offer an alternative route to shipping Russian gas via Ukraine.
It replaces a scrapped plan to build a South Stream pipeline under the Black Sea to Bulgaria to supply southern Europe while skirting Ukraine.
Putin axed the South Stream plan in December as relations with Brussels nosedived over Moscow's actions in Ukraine.
Gazprom has signed a preliminary accord with Turkey's state energy firm Botas on building the Turkish Stream pipeline with a capacity of 63 billion cubic metres, the same as the defunct South Stream project.
Russia plans to turn Turkey into a major transit hub for its gas heading to European countries, replacing its neighbour Ukraine.
Russian media reported in March that negotiations between Moscow and Ankara on the price of the piped gas were deadlocked, possibly delaying the project.
In Turkey, Russian gas will compete with that supplied by energy-rich ex-Soviet state Azerbaijan.
Turkey and Azerbaijan in March officially launched the construction of the 1,850 kilometre overland Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) which by 2018 aims to provide 10 billion cubic metres of Azeri gas per year (bcma) to EU consumers and 6 bcma to Turkish customers.
© 2015 AFP