Russian President Vladimir Putin (5th-R) talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan(4th-R) during the World Energy Congress (WEC) in Turkey's Istanbul, on Oct. 10, 2016. The two presidents signed an agreement on the same day on piping Russian natural gas to Turkey and possibly Europe. (Xinhua/WEC)
MOSCOW, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Russian gas giant Gazprom said on Sunday the construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline had begun under the Black Sea.
"The project is being implemented strictly according to the schedule, and our Turkish and European customers will have a reliable new route for importing Russian gas by the end of 2019," Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller is cited as saying in a statement.
Pipe-laying works began off the Russian coast of the Black Sea, the statement specified.
The Turkish Stream project, initiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014, intends to deliver Russian natural gas to Turkey and European markets through the Black Sea.
It was suspended amid escalated tensions caused by Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane in November 2014, and negotiations resumed in the middle of last year as bilateral relations were improved. Earlier in March, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that cooperation plans for the project have started getting back on track.
According to an agreement signed by Moscow and Ankara last October, two lines of the undersea section of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline will be built with the annual capacity of each to reach 15.75 billion cubic meters of natural gas.