Gas pipeline will be ready within a year

ANKARA – A planned natural gas pipeline between Turkey and Greece will be completed by November 2006, a Turkish consortium chosen to build the underwater section of the line said yesterday. Greece and Turkey agreed last year to build the $300 million (254-million-euro), 285-kilometer gas pipeline as part of ambitious plans to transport gas from the Caspian Sea and the Middle East to energy-hungry Europe. The Turkish state pipeline company Botas invited separate tenders for land and sea pipelines after a previous tender was canceled due to claims of corruption. «The 12-month period for completion (of the section under the Sea of Marmara) began on November 15. We have to finish this phase by Nov. 15, 2006,» said an official of the winning consortium, Oztas-Peker Is Partnership. Previously, officials had said they expected the first gas to flow between Turkey and Greece in early 2007. The project will eventually pump up to 11 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas a year – 3 bcm for Greece and the rest for re-export to the rest of Europe. Earlier this month, Italy and Greece signed an accord worth 950 million euros to extend the pipeline from Greece to Italy. The 200km pipeline between the coasts of Italy and Greece will be built by Poseidon, a joint venture between Edison and Greek gas firm Depa, with an investment of 350 million euros. Botas could join that venture later. The remaining 600km in Greece will be built by Depa at a cost of 600 million euros. Work on that section of the pipeline is due to start in 2007 and to finish in 2010.

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