On Wednesday, Gazprom Chairman Alexey Miller announced that the construction of the sea section of the TurkStream gas pipeline project will begin in the second half of 2017 and both lines will be ready by the end of 2019, according to a written statement released by the Russian energy giant. Miller's announcement came after Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım's visit to Moscow on Tuesday. "Today we can confidently say that construction of the sea section of TurkStream will begin in the second half of 2017. Both pipelines will be ready by the end of 2019," Miller said in his statement.
Ankara and Moscow signed an intergovernmental agreement in October, which was approved by Parliament and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week. During Yıldırım's visit on Tuesday, his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev said the TurkStream would soon be ratified in Russia, too. This statement came hours after the TurkStream agreement entered into force in Turkey when it was published in the Official Gazette on Dec. 6 after being passed in Parliament and approved by President Erdoğan.
In the meantime, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak noted that construction of the pipeline will begin in 2017 and that the construction of both the sea and the land sections will be completed by the end of 2019.
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. Estimated to have a capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters through the two lines, the TurkStream project's first and second lines will transfer Russian natural gas to Turkey and European countries, respectively. The project involves two more pipelines that will increase capacity to 63 billion cubic meters. Previously, President Erdoğan said the construction of another two lines to carry Russian natural gas to Europe via the Turkish-Greek border would depend on the demand.