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MOSCOW, July 29. /TASS/. The project of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline construction is becoming more attractive for Turkey and Russia because of the rising cost of gas transit through Ukraine, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on the Energetics program on the Rossiya 24 TV channel on Friday.
"Of course, if the cost of transit is higher, as our Ukrainian colleagues say, is will affect the cost of transportation and the final gas price for Turkey’s consumers. Therefore Turkey is interested in receiving gas directly, bypassing other transit countries", he said.
The minister added that the project provides for the construction of at least one line of the pipeline with the delivery of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas per year. This volume is intended for Turkish consumers.
The Turkish Stream pipeline was announced by the Russian authorities in December 2014 as a replacement for the South Stream pipeline. It was planned that the marine section of Turkish Stream would comprise four lines with the capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters each. The pipeline is to run 660 km in the old South Stream corridor and 250 km in the new corridor in the direction of the European part of Turkey.
Natural gas supplies through the first line of the pipeline are planned for meeting the demand of the growing Turkish market. On December 1, 2014, Russia’s natural gas monopoly Gazprom and Turkish company Botas signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline with the capacity of 63 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Russia to Turkey across the Black Sea. In 2015, Novak said that at the first stage it was planned to lay two branches of the pipeline.
On December 1, 2015 the Russian government suspended the work of the mixed intergovernmental Russian-Turkish commission on trade and economic cooperation, which was headed by Alexander Novak for the Russian side, and which intended to consider the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project. On December 3, Novak said the Turkish Stream construction project had been put on hold.
In November 2015, the Turkish air forces shot down Russia’s Su-24 bomber over the territory of Syria. The incident led to serious tensions in relations between the two states.
In late June, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin in which he apologized for the downed plane and expressed interests in settlement of the situation. After a phone conversation of the two presidents Putin ordered the Russian government to start talks with Turkey on restoration of cooperation in trade and other sectors.