Russian Parliament ratifies major gas pipeline deal with Turkey

Moscow, Jan 20 (IANS) Russia’s State Duma, or the Lower House of Parliament, on Friday approved a “Turkish Stream” pipeline deal to deliver its natural gas to Turkey and European markets through the Black Sea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated the Turkish Stream project in 2014, and sealed the agreement with his Turkish counterpart in Istanbul in October 2016 envisioning the construction of two underwater legs of the gas pipeline, Xinhua news agency reported.

The project, put on hold after Turkey downed a Russian warplane in November 2015 near Turkish-Syrian border, was brought back to agenda in June 2016 when Moscow and Ankara agreed to revive their relations.

The Turkish Stream pipeline will serve as an alternative to the South Stream onshore project, which would pass through the Balkan Peninsula but was abandoned in late 2014 mainly due to the Crimea crisis.

The annual capacity of the Turkish Stream pipeline is estimated at 31.5 billion cubic metres with half of it to go to Turkey, according to an explanatory note by the State Duma.

The construction of the pipeline, with 920 km to be laid on the seabed and another 200 km onshore, is expected to start later this year and be completed by December 30, 2019, said the State Duma.

Russia and Turkey will share the investment of about $7.4 billion (seven billion euros).