Agreement on Turkish gas pipeline 'nearly completed'

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Baku, October 10, AZERTAC

According to Anadolu Agency, the final touches to the agreement to pipe Russian natural gas through Turkey should be completed when President Vladimir Putin meets his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Monday, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency ahead of the World Energy Congress, which opened Sunday, Novak said the wording of the Turkish Stream intergovernmental agreement had largely been agreed.

The project, announced by Putin during a December 2014 visit to Turkey, will carry gas from Russia under the Black Sea to Turkish Thrace. One line, with a 15.75 billion cubic meters capacity, is expected to supply the Turkish market with a second carrying gas to Europe.

Negotiation over the pipeline was halted after Turkey shot down a Russian jet over the Turkey-Syria border in November last year but has since resumed.

Last month, Gazprom said construction could start by the end of 2017 if an intergovernmental agreement was signed in October, with the goal of completing the pipeline by 2019.

Novak praised the constructive approach to the talks by both sides.

Turkey, which is the second biggest consumer of Russian gas after Germany, imports around 30 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia annually via two pipelines -- the Blue Stream, which passes under the eastern Black Sea, and the Western Line through the Balkans.

It is hoped the new pipeline will bring gas price discounts for Turkish customers. Under current agreements between the Turkish BOTAS pipeline corporation and Gazprom, both sides have the right to ask for price revisions.

Around the time Putin announced the Turkish Stream, Russia announced a 10.25 percent discount rate that was never implemented. BOTAS later took the issue to a court of arbitration.

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