TurkStream — The Timeline
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TurkStream — The Timeline

By Rose McReid
IndraStra Global Editorial Team

Image Attribute: © 2020 Hürriyet Daily News

TurkStream is a natural gas pipeline running from Russia to Turkey. It starts from the Russkaya compressor station near Anapa in Russia's Krasnodar Region, crossing the Black Sea to the receiving terminal at Kıyıköy.

The Origin

The origin of TurkStream (then name Turkish Stream) is based on a concept that was earlier known as South Stream, a Black Sea bypass route. The planned South Stream was supposed to go through the bottom of the Black Sea to Bulgaria and through Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia further to Austria. But due to the annexation of the Crimea, and Donbas war, Europe decided to demonstrate its solidarity with Ukraine in the form of freezing this project. The project was suddenly found in non-compliance with European Union's competition and energy legislation, in particular, the Third Energy Package, which stipulates the separation of companies' generation and sale operations from their transmission network. Eventually, Bulgaria had to refuse to become a South European gas hub, and Turkey safely took its place, and South Stream smoothly transformed into TurkStream.

The Route

Map Attribute: TurkStream Map by Consiglieri88 / December 29, 2015, / Wikipedia

Map Attribute: TurkStream Map by Consiglieri88 / December 29, 2015, / Wikipedia

TurkStream begins at the Russkaya compressor station near. It was an earlier part of the South Stream project. It runs approximately 578 mi (930 km) offshore, of which approximately 140 mi (230 km ) is located in the Russian maritime zones and approximately 435 mi (700 km) is located in the Turkish waters. The landing point in Turkey is Kıyıköy, a village in the district of Vize in Kırklareli Province at northwestern Turkey. From there, the 43 mi (69 km) section of the first line continues to the distribution center in Lüleburgaz. The  90 mi (145 km) section will connect the Lüleburgaz distribution center with Ipsala on the Turkey–Greece border. Alternatively, the second line will continue from Kıyıköy to Malkoçlar on the Turkey–Bulgaria border, where it will be connected to the existing Trans-Balkan pipeline system.

The Timeline

On December 1, 2014, Russia′s president Vladimir Putin announced the launch of Turkish Stream (Now it is known as TurkStream) project during his state visit to Turkey, when a memorandum of understanding was signed between Gazprom and BOTAŞ, a Turkish state-owned crude oil and natural gas pipelines and trading company.

On January 27, 2015, Alexey Miller, Chairman of Gazprom and Taner Yildiz, Turkey's Minister of Energy and Natural Resources discussed the preliminary results of a Feasibility study for the new pipeline and decided on its route.

On November 24, 2015, Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 in Syria.

On November 26, 2015, the project was unilaterally suspended by Russia. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced broad economic sanctions against Turkey which included the possible shelving of Turkish Stream.

On June 8, 2016, Putin's statement regarding the TurkStream strengthened the possibility of the project's revival. Putin said that "Russia had not given up on the project," although he acknowledged some political problems with Turkey.

On June 27, 2016, Kremlin announced that Putin received a letter from President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in which the Turkish President expressed his desire to settle the situation concerning the downing of a Russian military aircraft.

On August 9, 2016, Erdoğan met Putin in Moscow. It was considered a reconciliation meeting between the two. Eventually, both sides brought the project back to the table.

On September 7-14, 2016, Gazprom received a series of permits for the TurkStream project from the Turkish authorities.

On October 10, 2016, Russia and Turkey inked the Agreement on the TurkStream project.

On December 8, 2016, South Stream Transport B.V. and Allseas Group S.A. signed the contract to build the first string of the TurkStream gas pipeline’s offshore section with an option for laying the second string.

On February 20, 2017, South Stream Transport B.V. and Allseas Group signed a contract to build the second string of the TurkStream gas pipeline’s offshore section

On May 7, 2017, the Pioneering Spirit (IMO number: 9593505, MMSI number: 249110000), the world's largest pipelay vessel belonging to Allseas, sailed to the Black Sea. The construction was commenced in the Black Sea near the Russian coast.

On June 23, 2017,  TurkStream pipeline laying work officially launched by Putin.

By July 2017, Allseas’ vessel Audacia (IMO: 9305130, MMSI 249117000) had completed the shallow water section for both lines of TurkStream.

On September 6, 2017, London-based Petrofac was awarded the construction of a gas receiving terminal in Kıyıköy, the main onshore site for the Turkish section in the country's northwest. The contract was valued at US$ 405 million (€340 million) under which it provided engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) solutions for the receiving terminal.

On November 4, 2017, The first pipeline of the TurkStream entered the Turkish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

On April 30, 2018, The Pioneering Spirit vessel, with a crew of 562 from 40 different nations on board, completed the first leg of pipeline laying. TurkStream’s first line reaches Turkey’s Black Sea coast

On June 20, 2018, the vessel returned to the Black Sea and began construction of the second leg.

On November 19, 2018, Erdoğan hosted Putin in Istanbul for a ceremony marking the completion of the project's sub-sea section.

On March 11, 2019, The construction of the project's gas receiving terminal in Kıyıköy marked a 50 percent threshold in completion.

On September 20, 2019, Bulgaria's state-owned gas provider, Bulgartransgaz EAD, awarded a €1.1-billion contract to Saudi-led group Arkad to construct 294.5 mi (474 km) gas pipeline, an extension to the TurkStream.

On October 11, 2019, Bulgaria inaugurated a 6.8 mi (11 km) gas pipeline linking the Turkish border to a Bulgarian compressor station at Strandja, acting as a critical extension of the TurkStream corridor to the region.

On October 21, 2019, Bulgaria promised to complete its stretch of the TurkStream gas pipeline by 2020 as planned. Sofia initially planned to have the pipeline built as early as January, but given that the contract with Arkad was signed only three months ago, it has pushed the timeline back to have it operational by the end of next May (2020).

On November 19, 2019, both strings of TurkStream – from the onshore facilities near Anapa to the receiving terminal on the Turkish coast near the Kiyikoy settlement – are filled up with gas.

On December 4, 2019, Putin accused Bulgaria of deliberately delaying the construction of TurkStream natural gas pipeline on its territory and said Moscow could find ways to bypass Sofia if needed.

On December 18, 2019, The U.S. Senate approved a defense bill that will see sanctions imposed on companies working on Russia’s massive flagship gas pipeline projects — Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream.

On December 21, 2019, Russia and Ukraine agreed to continue to send gas through Ukraine to Europe for a further five years. As per the new deal, at least 65 billion cubic meters of gas will transit through Ukraine in 2020, and 40 billion cubic meters in the consequent years. The deal also requires Russia to pay US$ 2.9 billion (€2.62 billion) to settle an arbitration claim arising from previous transit disputes. The gas deal also includes the option to extend the agreement by an additional 10 years. The agreement was outlined hours after US President Donald Trump approved sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.

On December 30, 2019, Bulgaria's Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova announced the country will start receiving natural gas from Russia’s Gazprom via Turkey from January 1, 2020, and would no longer use the route through Ukraine and Romania. “We are changing the entry point for gas supplies from Russia. The reason: the economic impact and the better conditions for Bulgarian consumers,” Petkova told reporters.

On January 8, 2020, the TurkStream gas pipeline officially launched in Istanbul in a grand ceremony.

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