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Turkey remains keen on European gas

Russia plans to build Turkish gas project after scrubbing European project.

By Daniel J. Graeber

ANKARA, Turkey, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Turkey's embrace of a Russian natural gas pipeline project doesn't mean Ankara has turned its back on the European energy sector, the energy minister said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said during an early December meeting in Ankara the long-planned South Stream natural gas pipeline "will not be carried out."

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South Stream had an optimum capacity of 2.2 trillion cubic feet per year. It would've stretched across the Black Sea to Bulgaria and then north to European markets.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said the company remains committed to diverse partnerships by working with European and Russian counterparts at the same time.

"Doing business with Russia does not mean that Turkey should stop negotiating with EU countries," he said.

Russian energy company Gazprom said it envisioned a more localized project, dubbed Turkish Stream. Yildiz said that project should not be seen as a sign Ankara is ignoring developments on the Trans Anatolian pipeline gas project for Europe.

British energy company BP has awarded more than $1 billion in development contracts since selecting the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline as its option to carry gas from the Shah Deniz project off the coast of Azerbaijan in 2013. TAP would connect to the Trans-Anatolian natural gas project running through Turkey to the Greek border.

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"Turkey and Azerbaijan will continue to work together on this project," the minister said.

TAP will carry Shah Deniz gas from there to the European Union.

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