The first stage of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Western Turkey could go into service late 2016, Russian gas giant Gazprom said after a meeting between its CEO, Alexei Miller, and Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz.
"Some very constructive and important negotiations took place today. Agreement was reached to start commissioning and supplying gas via Turkish Stream in December 2016. Gazprom will proceed from the agreements reached today in the schedule for its own work on the Turkish Stream project," Gazprom said.
Turkish Stream's first stage will provide a route for supplying gas to western Turkey bypassing Ukraine. The three subsequent stages will supply gas to countries in Central and Southern Europe, also bypassing Ukraine.
Gazprom is at an advanced stage of readiness to begin construction. After all, construction of the now canceled South Stream gas pipeline, for which Turkish Stream is the replacement, was scheduled to begin in the fall of 2014. The Saipem pipe-laying vessels hired to lay the South Stream are currently at the port of Burgas, Bulgaria, awaiting the signal to begin. However, until now Turkey had not given its permission to conduct project surveying in its territorial waters, let alone to begin construction.
Gazprom supplied 5.4 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas to Turkey on the Blue Stream pipeline in the first four months of 2015, according to operational data, which is 4% more than in the same period last year, the Russian gas giant said.
"In the past 10 years, gas consumption in Turkey has more than doubled and the Turkish market is interested in further growing energy export volumes from Russia" Gazprom said.
Turkey, Gazprom's second biggest export market after Germany, imported 27.4 bcm of gas from Russia in 2014, on the two currently available routes: the direct route on the Blue Stream pipeline and the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline route through Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria.
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