Turkey will on Thursday agree to the start of exploration work for building part of Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline under its waters, Russian officials said on Wednesday.
The agreement will come during a one-day visit to Ankara on Thursday by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, his top foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow.
In a memorandum to be signed by Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan “the Turkish side will give its approval for starting exploration work” for the pipeline, Ushakov said.
He added that the date for the work to start would be decided in the talks between the two prime ministers.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Tuesday it was too early to discuss whether or how Ankara would participate.
Last month, Ankara hosted the signing of an accord to build the Nabucco pipeline to carry Caspian gas via Turkey on a route bypassing Russia that is seen as a bid to reduce European dependence on Russian gas supplies.
Russia has already invited Turkey to join the South Stream project with an eye on using Turkish territorial waters in the Black Sea instead of Ukraine for the pipeline.