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Gazprom surveys Turkish Stream route

First sections of revised gas network to be laid by late 2016.

By Daniel J. Graeber

ANKARA, Turkey, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Russian energy company Gazprom said it surveyed the Turkish land route for the 110-mile section of a planned natural gas pipeline from the Black Sea.

Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller and Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz flew over the planned onshore route for the Turkish Stream pipeline. Both sides agreed on the landfall location, a gas delivery point and the border crossing for the 110-mile pipeline in Turkey.

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"In the near future a permit is to be obtained for conducting front-end engineering design operations for the new Turkish offshore section," Gazprom said in a statement.

The Kremlin said the Turkish gas project will help ensure European energy security. South Stream, a longer version of the pipeline, was envisioned as a European network before the Russian government pulled it off the table in late 2014.

Russia meets about a quarter of the natural gas needs for the European economy. The majority of that runs through the Soviet-era transit network in Ukraine, where lingering debt issues and ongoing conflict present risks to traditional energy routes.

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Fitch Ratings said last year the decision to abandon South Stream reflected low demand for additional natural gas volumes in the European market as much as it does frustration with Russia's control over the European energy market. Austrian energy company OMV, a former South Stream consortium member, said it viewed the announcement as political in nature.

The first sections of the Turkish Stream pipeline should be completed by December 2016, Gazprom said in a Saturday announcement.

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