Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have launched the long-anticipated offshore pipeline TurkStream, that will deliver Russian gas to Turkey and further to southern European states.
The 930km pipeline across the bottom of the Black Sea became operational on Wednesday, with the two leaders attending a special opening ceremony. Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov also participated in the event, as the leaders symbolically launched the project from the stage.
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“The supply of Russian gas through TurkStream will undoubtedly be of great importance not only for the economy of Turkey and the Black Sea region, but will also have a positive impact on the development of many South European countries, and will contribute to improving the energy security of Europe in general,” Putin said. He also thanked his Turkish counterpart for the “political will” that was necessary to implement such a massive initiative.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that the TurkStream gas pipeline project was crucial for the economic progress of his country.
Speaking at the project’s opening ceremony in Istanbul, Vucic said: “The TurkStream gas pipeline has great importance for the future of Serbia, for attracting investments and for the further economic and industrial progress of the country.”
He said the pipeline will allow Serbia to purchase gas at lower prices than before.
“The construction of the 403-kilometre-long gas pipeline’s leg in Serbia brings gas to Vladicin Han, Ljubovija, Bajina Basta and other places subsequently increasing industrial growth.”
Vucic said he expects the pipeline to be connected to Serbia by the second half of this year.
The TurkStream project consists of two lines with a total capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year. The first line will carry 15.75 bcm of Russian gas to Turkish consumers every year, and the second line will carry another 15.75 bcm from Russia to Europe via Turkey.
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