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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turkey Pipeline a Go

ANKARA, Turkey -- The Turkish parliament on Thursday ratified a package of agreements on building a pipeline stretching from Azerbaijan's rich oil fields to Turkey.

The presidents of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia last November signed an agreement to build the pipeline, and parliament's ratification brings the project a step closer to realization.

Azerbaijan and Georgia ratified the project in May.

Energy Minister Cumhur Ersumer said the Turkish government has guaranteed to pay the difference if the pipeline's cost in Turkish territory goes above $1.3 billion.

The 1,730-kilometer oil pipeline from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan is expected to cost $2.4 billion.

Ersumer said Turkey will initially earn about $300 million a year from transit fees. The pipeline could be finished as early as 2004 if construction begins as scheduled.