Gazprom Starts Trial Shipments via Blue Stream Pipeline

Gazprom has begun a trial run of the world's deepest pipeline, Blue Stream which links Russia to Turkey under the Black Sea. "The pipeline is ready. Technically the gas is flowing to Turkey, but it will take us up to 15 days to raise the pressure, officially open the link and start commercial supplies," according to a Gazprom spokeswoman.

The $3.5 billion project, developed with ENI was intended to open by October 2001, but the date was postponed several times due to Gazprom's financial and logistical problems.

Gazprom, which supplies one quarter of Europe's gas, already ships 12 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas to Turkey a year via an onshore pipeline through Bulgaria. The Black Sea pipeline, known as Blue Stream, will supply Turkey with an additional two bcm in 2003, rising by two bcm a year and hitting 16 bcm by 2008.