The first pipeline of the TurkStream gas offshore line reached the Turkish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on Saturday, after completing the construction of the two offshore lines in Russian waters, the company managing the project planned and developed by Russia’s gas giant Gazprom said in a statement.
Russia scrapped the South Stream gas pipeline project to the European Union (EU) at the end of 2014, citing EU objections, and turned to Turkey for an alternative pipeline that will primarily deliver gas for the Turkish market and later extend to southern and southeastern EU—TurkStream.
Gazprom plans the first and second strings of TurkStream to have a throughput capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters each. TurkStream’s offshore section will run over 900 kilometers (560 miles) from Anapa in Russia across the Black Sea to the Turkish seaboard, with an onshore string for gas transit to be laid up to Turkey’s border with neighboring countries.
According to Saturday’s statement, first gas is expected to flow via TurkStream in December 2019.
Russia, however, will not be proceeding with the TurkStream construction to the EU until it receives legal assurance from the bloc, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last week.
“The growing energy needs of Southern and South-Eastern Europe could be met by the extension of the second branch of the Turkish Stream to EU territory. Many governments of EU states have shown considerable interest in this. We are open to this, but considering the unfortunate experience of the South Stream, we will start this work only after receiving firm legal guarantees from Brussels,” Lavrov said at a business meeting.
The Russian minister also criticized the European Commission for attempting to regulate Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.
“We believe the introduction of new legal norms exclusively for Nord Stream 2 amounts to politically motivated discrimination against the project’s investors,” Lavrov said.
Some EU member states, including Poland, the Baltic countries, and Denmark, are opposed to the Nord Stream 2, arguing it further boosts Russian gas dominance in Europe.