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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S., Russia Back Rival Oil Pipelines

ANKARA, Turkey -- A U.S. envoy insisted Friday that an oil pipeline from the Caspian to Turkey's Mediterranean coast was commercially viable.

Russia, meanwhile, launched a last-ditch effort to persuade Azerbaijan to back-track from the Turkish project and choose Russia as the main export route in stead.

John Wolf, the United States' envoy for Caspian energy, said "our view, oft-stated, is that Baku-Ceyhan is a project that is commercially realizable now.''

The projected 1,730-kilometer pipeline would originate from Baku and cross Georgia before reaching Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.

Turkey hopes to sign key framework agreements with Azerbaijan and Georgia for the project during a summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe at Istanbul in mid-November.

"I am very, very hopeful by then something will be signed,'' Wolf said.

Turkey's chances were boosted after the London-based BP Amoco, one of the leading companies in a consortium to decide on an export route for Caspian Sea oil, recently dropped its opposition to the Turkish route.

"While it's too soon to claim closure on this first chapter, it's not too soon for Turkey, the other countries and the potential project sponsors to start the serious planning necessary to meet the 2004 timeline," Wolf said.