Russia and Turkey are preparing a number of documents in the energy sphere for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's official visit to Ankara May 11-12, Presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko said on Monday. "The sides will sign a memorandum on cooperation in oil transportation security through the Black Sea, as well as a number of other documents between Russian companies and their partners," Prikhodko said at a briefing, adding that "the most important commercial contracts" would be with Rosneft and Gazprom. He called cooperation between the two countries on such large projects as the South Stream gas pipeline, the Blue Stream-2 gas pipeline, as well as the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline "extremely perspective."
Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said in an interview with the Turkish Cihan news agency that both countries were "developing the topic" of constructing the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline and expressed his hope that the joint project on building the oil pipeline would agreed on at the ministerial level. Turkey has repeatedly invited Russia to join the project launched in 2007 and due to be completed in 2011 but has not received a positive response. The $1.5-billion pipeline, which is being built by the Turkish holding Calik Energy and Italy's ENI, will extend 700 kilometers (435 miles) through Turkey from the Black Sea port of Samsun to the port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean. The pipeline's projected capacity will be 60-70 million tons of oil a year (1.2-1.4 million bbl/d).
The project is designed to reduce the oil transportation load on the Black Sea's Strait of Bosporus and the Dardanelles on the Marmara Sea, which handles some 150 million tons (1.1 billion bbl) annually. The South Stream project is designed to annually pump 31 billion cubic meters of Central Asian and Russian gas to the Balkans and onto other European countries along the bed of the Black Sea, with the pipeline's capacity expected to be eventually increased to 63 billion cubic meters.