Russia approves Blue Stream gas pipeline to Turkey

Nov 29, 1999 01:00 AM

The Russian government approved the Blue Stream gas pipeline to Turkey, a major underwater engineering project, and sent to parliament legislation needed to ratify the agreement. Current plans for the project, which have not yet been finalised, call for a third of the $ 1.5 bn pipeline to run along the bed of the Black Sea. The target date for completion is in 2005.
Russia's cabinet approved a protocol on the project, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin forwarded it to parliament. The deal includes tax breaks that parliament must approve. Putin said he wants parliament to pass the project before parliamentary elections Dec. 19, the Interfax news agency reported.
"It is very important that the current Duma make the decision," he said. The 750-mile pipeline is intended to carry millions of cubic yards of gas to heat homes and run factories in Turkey. The pipeline will double Russia's current gas exports to Turkey.
Putin said the pipeline will generate between $ 4.5 and $ 7 bn in government revenues over the life of the project, depending on natural gas prices in years to come. Previously, the deal was held up over issues of tax breaks for participating companies. It was not immediately clear if all those issues had been resolved.

Turkish officials announced that they will cut the power supply to the capital, Ankara, for two hours a day to save energy after the supply of natural gas from Russia fell. The state pipeline company BOTAS said that due to freezing weather in countries such as Russia and Ukraine, Moscow has only been able to supply Turkey with 700 mm cfpd of gas, down from the usual 945 mm cfpd.
That and the need for gas to heat homes in central Turkey, which is facing bitter cold, have left power plants short of energy. The power cuts will end once natural gas supplies return to normal. BOTAS said it was cutting gas supplies to clients who do not use gas for heating.

Source: AP
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