By Talha Yavuz of Anadolu Agency Energy Terminal
ANKARA (AA) - A connecting branch of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline will start next year to extend from Belgrade to the Republika Srpska, one of the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Minister of Energy and Mining of Republika Srpska Petar Djokic announced Monday evening.
According to news agency Tass, the Republika Srpska government has made preparations for what Djokic called a "project of great importance for his country" in May. In July, the local municipalities followed suite after a decision was agreed that the pipeline route would run parallel to a new highway to connect Belgrade and Republika Srpska.
The minister said that immediately after the completion of the Serbian section of the TurkStream, the construction of the connecting branch to the Republika Srpska would begin.
"The construction of the connecting section from the TurkStream to Republika Srpska will start next year. We cannot start the construction of the branch before the construction of the highway begins since it is a single project," he explained, adding that the project has now officially started with the first foundation laid down for the highway on Tuesday.
The TurkStream natural gas pipeline has a total capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters, out of which the first line will carry a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Turkish consumers. The second line will carry another 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe via Turkey.
The European route for TurkStream has not been officially announced yet.