Turkey sees no delay in TurkStream
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotoTurkey does not foresee a delay in the scheduled timetable for the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project between Russia and Turkey under the Black Sea, Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak said on Oct. 26.
“There is a plan to start construction in 2017 and to complete by 2019. We don’t foresee any delay for its completion,” Albayrak told Anadolu Agency.
The TurkStream, whose intergovernmental agreement was signed on Oct. 10 in Istanbul, will be a win-win project for Turkey, he said.
Russia announced two new pipeline projects for Europe in the last few years – the TurkStream and NordStream II, Albayrak said.
“Turkey sometimes has problems in receiving Russian gas via the Western line through Ukraine, and that is one of the reasons why Russia developed the infrastructure [for the TurkStream] and announced a project in accordance with its regional energy politics.”
He also stressed that the TurkStream would not only supply Turkey, but would serve Europe as the second line in the project which is planned to transfer gas to southern European markets.
Relations between Turkey and Russia were severely damaged when two Turkish F-16 fighter jets on an aerial patrol shot down a Russian warplane in November 2015. After a nine-month hiatus in relations, both countries decided to reconcile and relations improved following a letter by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
Putin visited Istanbul to participate in the World Energy Congress which was held between Oct. 9 and 13 after a visit by Erdoğan to St. Petersburg.
“The process for the TurkStream slowed down due to the crisis on Nov. 24 between Russia and Turkey. But now everything is back on track,” Albayrak said.
The minister hailed the importance of the project in having a positive effect on relations in the region and in eliminating potential gas supply delays or stoppages on the western line via Ukraine.
The project, announced by Putin during a December 2014 visit to Turkey, will carry gas from Russia under the Black Sea to Turkey’s Thrace region and potentially to Europe through a second line.
Russia is ready to expand TurkStream to Europe if the EU is willing to agree on taking its gas, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Oct. 25.
The chairman of Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom’s management committee, Alexey Miller, said on Oct. 24 that two lines of the TurkStream would be ready by the end of 2019.