Turkey and Russia on Monday signed an inter-governmental agreement on realising the construction of the planned TurkStream gas pipeline to pump Russian gas under Turkish waters in the Black Sea towards Europe.
The agreement was signed by Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Turkish counterpart Berat Albayrak, in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after their talks in Istanbul, an AFP correspondent reported.
The chief executive of Russian gas giant Gazprom, Alexei Miller, had said ahead of the signing that the agreement foresees the construction of two lines of pipe on the bed of the Black Sea.
The annual capacity of each line is to be 15.75 billion cubic metres of gas (bcma) making a total capacity of over 30 bcma.
The agreement aims to build the lines by 2019, Miller said.
According to Miller, the first line of the gas pipeline will be used to transport gas to Turkish consumers and the second to pipe to Europe.
The plan to build TurkStream was dramatically announced by Putin in December 2014 in Ankara, as a replacement for the South Stream pipeline that was to have been built in cooperation with EU countries.
South Stream was scrapped after years of planning, with Putin angrily blaming Brussels for its failure.
The TurkStream project however languished amid uncertainty after the crisis triggered by the shooting down of a Russian war plane by Turkish forces over the Syrian border in November 2015.
The agreement signed in Istanbul represents a concrete symbol of the desire of both parties to bring the much-discussed TurkStream project to fruition.