17:38 Sep. 3, 2016
Russia seeks to build Black Sea gas route to bypass Ukraine
Russia is on track to accomplish a major energy project aimed at cementing its ties with Turkey following a recent thaw in relations.
The government in Moscow expects officials in Ankara to make necessary decisions in one to two months to proceed with a natural gas pipeline under the Black Sea that may kick off by end-2019, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Saturday, Septemebr 3.
A draft intergovernmental agreement has been sent to Turkey, he told reporters in the Russian Far Eastern city of Vladivostok.
The Kremlin-backed Gazprom PJSC previously said that Russia was assessing several potential routes via the Black Sea through different countries.
"I believe the decision has been made," Novak said, leaving possible alternatives to Turkish Stream off the table.
For years, Russia has been striving to cut its reliance on gas transit through Ukraine, which accounts for about 40 percent of its exports to Europe, by building pipelines under the Baltic and the Black seas. An initially planned link to Bulgaria, known as the South Stream, was strongly opposed by the European Union. Full story