Construction of a gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey could be delayed if an initial agreement is not signed soon, says Russia's energy minister.
The proposed TurkStream project would see pipes laid beneath the Black Sea to carry 15.75 billion cubic metres of gas (bcm) to Turkey every year and operations had initially been due to start in 2017.
But Russia's Gazprom is yet to start construction as Ankara has failed to respond to an offer from Russia to sign an intergovernmental agreement on the first line of the project. Sources have suggested that Turkey wanted a bigger gas discount before agreeing to the deal.
"If construction does not start, it is obvious that the schedule is moving," Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
The TurkStream project is aimed at bypassing Ukraine as a key transit country for Russian gas flowing to Europe and it is supposed to bring a total of 63 bcm of gas per year to Turkey and to southern Europe via Greece by 2020.
Gazprom cancelled a contract with Italy's Saipem to build a link to Turkey earlier in July, but Russian officials have said Moscow was continuing to work on the project.