UFA, July 9. /TASS/. The cancelation of contract between Russia’s gas giant Gazprom and Saipem contractor won’t affect the terms of the construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline and is a technical issue, Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters on Thursday.
"The implementation of the project is going on. Together with our Turkish partners we are continuing to finalize intergovernmental agreements. It is a technical issue which is being solved by Gazprom and technical agencies".
When asked if this will influence the terms of the construction, the minister said:
"No terms have been set. We are working in "the sooner the better" mode".
Earlier on Thursday, South Stream Transport B.V., a subsidiary of Gazprom, informed Saipem S.p.A. on cancelling the contract for the construction of the first line of the offshore part of the gas pipeline that had been signed as part of the South Stream project implementation in 2014.
"This decision was made due to failure to reach an agreement on numerous routine and commercial aspects of the Turkish Stream implementation," the company said in the statement.
Other work on the project is under way and in the near future South Stream Transport B.V. is to start talks with potential contractors to build the Turkish Stream’s first line.
The Turkish Stream will serve as an alternative to the South Stream gas pipeline project abandoned by Russia in December 2014. The larger part of the Turkish Stream pipeline will run across the Black Sea and coincide with the South Stream route approved earlier.
Unlike the South Stream, which implied a large-scale infrastructure construction in Europe, the Turkish Stream project is limited to the construction of a pipeline under the Black Sea and a gas hub on the border between Turkey and Greece. The remaining part of infrastructure will have to be built by Gazprom’s European customers themselves.
Earlier, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said that the construction of the first stretch of the Turkish Stream would start in late June. The pipeline is scheduled to begin operation in December 2016, he said.
The Turkish Stream will have an annual capacity of 63 billion cubic meters, of which 47 billion cubic meters will be delivered to a new gas hub on the Turkish-Greek border.