European companies are preparing for possible natural gas from the TurkStream natural gas project, Alexander Medvedev, vice chairman of the Russian state-owned gas and oil giant Gazprom said.
Speaking at a press conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, on the TurkStream project, Medvedev said Bulgaria has initiatives for a second line to extend to Europe as part of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project. "I think this shows Bulgaria's regret, which prevented the South Stream project, leading to its cancellation. We do not consult the Bulgarian route for the line to reach Europe in TurkStream for now," he said.
Medvedev also said gas delivery to Turkey will start by the end of 2019. "The exact date depends both on the construction of the sea part of the project and on the readiness of the Turkish gas distribution system. However, it would 100 percent start in 2019, no doubts about it."
Turkey and Russia recently signed a protocol to jointly end the second line of the TurkStream gas pipeline project by the end of 2019.
Pointing to the signing of a protocol between BOTAŞ Petroleum Pipeline Corporation and Gazprom for construction of the land section of the line to extend to Europe in TurkStream, Medvedev said for the second line of the project, some natural gas transport systems in Europe need to increase capacity, adding that European companies have begun preparing for possible natural gas from TurkStream. Gazprom previously said in a statement that with BOTAŞ it would create a joint venture, TurkStream Gas Transport, to construct the second line of the TurkStream project.
The extension of the second line to Italy via Greece or to Serbia via Bulgaria is among routes currently in assessment.
In October, Moscow and Ankara signed an intergovernmental agreement on the construction of two underwater legs of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline in the Black Sea.
TurkStream is a transit-free export gas pipeline, which will not only stretch across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey but will further extend to Turkey's borders with neighboring countries.
The pipeline will start from the southern Russian town of Anapa on the Black Sea coast and will be laid on a 930-kilometer route under the Black Sea to reach the Thrace region of Turkey along the Black Sea coast.
The first line of the pipeline reached the Turkish shore at the end of April after a 930 kilometers deep-water offshore pipe laying from Anapa, Russia, to Kıyıköy, Turkey, by the world's largest pipe-laying vessel, Pioneering Spirit.
TurkStream's first line will carry 15.75 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas to Turkey, which is to be operational in December 2019. The project will have a total throughput capacity of 31.5 bcm thanks to the second line that will go to Europe.