Russia still awaiting Turkish reply to ideas on Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline - minister

Russia is still waiting for a response from Turkey to its proposals for ensuring the competitiveness of the planned Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline, whose purpose is to reduce shipping traffic through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, the Russian energy minister said.

"In 2011, the Russian side sent the Turkish side an agreement and draft documents prescribing satisfactory economic conditions for the construction of that pipeline and its operation with the cost of oil transmission taken into account. An amount of about $55 per tonne was proposed. The calculations made by the Turkish side resulted in about $77 per tonne," Alexander Novak told reporters.

Russia believes the price proposed by Turkey would make the pipeline lose competition with other oil transmission options, he said.

"At present, we are waiting for a reply from the Turkish side. As soon as it arrives, negotiations will resume, I think," Novak said.

The 555-kilometer pipeline would carry oil from the Black Sea region to Europe. It would cross Turkey from its Black Sea coast in the north to its Mediterranean coast in the south.

In 2009, the Eni and Calik companies and Russian firms Rosneft and Transneft signed a memorandum of understanding on a plan to set up a consortium to operate the pipeline construction project. Turkey values the project at $4 billion.

According to 2009 reports, Rosneft and Transneft may each obtain a 25 percent stake in the construction project.

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