Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday that construction of the envisaged Russia-Turkey Pipeline, also known as “Turkish Stream,” will not begin until the respective countries sign the intergovernmental agreement.
"The beginning of the project's construction will be postdated as the date of signing is postdated," Novak said, according to Russian Interfax news agency.
The proposed Turkish Stream gas pipeline will carry 63 billion cubic metres of Russian gas supplies through Turkey’s exclusive economic zones in the Black sea and then expected to traverse Greece en route Europe.
Russia and Turkey had agreed to materialise the project in exchange with Moscow’s long-anticipated South Stream Pipeline when Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Ankara in last December.
Since Russia cut off the gas flow twice in 2007 and 2009 to Ukraine and several other Eastern European countries, the EU had projected the Nabucco Pipeline in the Southern Gas Corridor on which Russia has long been proposing the South Stream Pipeline.
Russia, Turkey and Greece have recently clinched the preliminary agreements regarding the construction of Turkish Stream which is expected to be vitalised around 2019.
Russia has promised hundreds of millions of dollars in transit payments annually to both Turkey and Greece while Turkey will use 15.75 bcm of gas for it own consumption.
Turkey and Russia are deemed to be economic partners and their trade volume is estimated around $35 billion which was aimed to be increased to the level of $100 billion as of 2020.
In this context, both countries are eager to deepen the bilateral relations as the Western sanctions caused a recession in Russian economy and the recent Middle East crises limited the sustainable growth in Turkish economy.
Russia perceives Turkey as a stable consumer in European energy market as the Western sanctions, which were imposed on Russia due to its annexation of Crimea and intervention into the ongoing Ukraine crisis, gradually hit Russian economy since last year.
Ankara is getting almost half of its energy needs from Moscow’s energy deliveries which renders Turkey as an energy-dependent country on Russia.