Turkey has yet to issue a permit for Russia's Gazprom to start building the land-based part of the TurkStream gas pipeline, three sources familiar with the matter said, stoking fears the strategically important project will be delayed.
Ankara has authorized Gazprom, which has a de facto monopoly on Russian gas exports by pipeline, to start building two undersea sections of the project, as reported by Reuters.
However, it has still not given Gazprom the green light for the land-based segment to ship Russian gas onward to southern Europe, the sources told Reuters. "There is no permission from Turkey, which hampers talks about building the second line to Europe," one of the sources familiar with the talks said.
Read alsoUkraine must fight to retain sustainable gas transit after 2019 – expertA second source said the permit problem might be related to talks between Gazprom and Turkish state company Botas about a possible discount for Russian gas. "It looks like Gazprom will have to give in (to Botas)," the source said.
A third source in the Turkish energy industry told Reuters that Botas and Gazprom had yet to set up a joint venture they were meant to form for the land-based part of TurkStream. This was why a construction permit had not yet been issued, the source added.
Botas and the Turkish Energy Ministry declined to comment.
Read alsoEnergy expert on TurkStream: Putin's goal to deprive Ukraine of transit state statusGazprom has already started laying the undersea TurkStream lines, to Turkey and southern Europe respectively, beneath the Black Sea. The pipes, with a combined capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters per year, have yet to reach land.
On Monday, TurkStream's operating company said Gazprom had already built 884 km of the two lines, almost half the pipeline's entire subsea portion.