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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ukraine Makes Pipeline Deal

KIEV -- The presidents of Ukraine and Turkey have signed a protocol to build an oil pipeline intended to end Ukraine's dependence on Russian energy. "We have signed a protocol to build an oil pipeline from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea," Turkish President Suleyman Demirel said at a joint news conference with Leonid Kravchuk, at the end of a two-day visit to Ukraine. "It will allow us to develop cooperation between our countries and to reduce (tanker) traffic through the Bosporous," he said. The 700-kilometer pipeline to carry Middle Eastern oil to Ukraine amounts to a compromise to take account of Turkish objections to increased tanker traffic through the Bosporous and the Dardanelles. The pipeline would link Turkey's Mediterranean terminal at Ceyhan, which serves an Iraqi pipeline, advance north to Kikikkale Central Anatolian refinery and to the port of Samsun. Oil would then be loaded onto tankers for transport to an oil terminal under construction in Odessa. Experts estimate the pipeline, to cost between $1-1.4 billion, will carry 40 million tons of oil per year -- equal to Ukraine's oil needs. "The current project is only at an initial stage. I don't believe there will be any difficulties in finding financing," Demirel said. Ukraine depends on Russia for 90 percent of its oil and reliable supplies are frequently an element in the delicate relations between the two former Soviet republics. Ukraine currently owes Russia at least $1 billion for energy supplies. Ukraine has tried a series of other options to obtain imported energy, notably from Turkmenistan and Iran, but none has so far proved reliable.