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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turks Plan Pipeline for Russia's Gas

ANKARA -- Energy-hungry Turkey, fresh from giant energy deals with Iran and oil major Royal/Dutch Shell, said Tuesday it would sign an agreement with Russia for a $1.1 billion pipeline to get more gas through its eastern border.

Mustafa Murathan, general manager of the state pipeline concern Botas, said in a statement the pipeline would be 1,160 kilometers long with a capacity of up to 16 billion cubic meters of gas a year.

"The two sides will come together in September and the agreement will be signed by the end of September," he said.

Murathan, who met Russian Gazprom officials last week, said the agreement would also gradually raise Turkey's gas purchases from Russia to 30 billion cubic meters by 2010 from the current 6 billion a year.

Turkey gets Russian gas from a pipeline through Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria. It also relies on liquefied natural gas from Algeria and Nigeria.

Ankara wants to diversify its energy resources to lessen dependence on coal and oil and sees natural gas as the best source of energy because of Turkey's proximity to producer countries.

"Natural gas will be the chief energy supply resource in future for Turkey," said Ugur Dogan, under-secretary for the energy ministry.

Turkey has been under pressure to find additional power ahead of winter, when demand peaks. It recently agreed with neighboring Iran to buy electricity and has been negotiating with Georgia and Bulgaria for electricity purchases.

Earlier this month Ankara struck a 23-year, $23 billion agreement with Tehran to buy 3 billion cubic meters of gas a year from 1999 in a deal that threatens to undercut U.S. efforts to isolate Tehran.

Murathan said the design of the new pipeline from Russia would be completed by the end of this year and construction would begin in 1997.