Russia and Turkey sign South Stream gas deal

August 7th, 2009 - 3:42 am ICT by IANS  

Ankara, Aug 7 (DPA) Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan Thursday signed an agreement that will allow the planned South Stream pipeline to pass through Turkey’s waters.
The pipeline is a Russian-Italian project that would bring Russian gas to Europe via the Black Sea. It is seen as a rival to the Nabucco pipeline, which some European leaders favour since that project does not rely on Russian gas.

Payment disputes between Russia and Ukraine, through which much of Russian gas destined for Europe flows, have blocked gas shipments to Europe in the past, making some question Russian reliability.

Bypassing Ukraine with the South Stream pipeline should resolve that problem, argue Russian officials. Nonetheless, some European leaders would like an alternate, worrying that they are too dependent on Russia, which provides the bulk of gas for European consumption.

However, the EU’s executive, the European Commission, insists that it does not see South Stream as a threat, but a “complementary initiative” to projects like Nabucco, said EU spokesman Martin Selmayr.

Thursday’s discussion included talks on Russian bids to build the first nuclear power plants for Turkey in Akkuyu, around 350 km east of Antalya. The bid for the 15.5-billion-euro ($22.3-billion) project was won by Russia together with a Turkish

partner and would be completed in 2020, Putin said.

Putin and Erdogan also spoke about the planned trans Anatolian oil pipeline from the northern Turkish city of Samsun on the Black Sea to the town of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean.

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