Blue Stream was commissioned and started construction in 2000. A joint production between Russia and Turkey, the pipeline was designed to supply Turkey with natural gas from Russia.

The project was severely criticized during construction for its design and for its role in making Turkey highly dependent on Russia for its gas. Then, ironically, once completed in 2003 the pipeline was left unused as Turkey refused to pay what it considered to be too high a price for Russia’s gas.

However, with worldwide prices now high, Turkey’s attitude to Russia’s gas has changed and, as a result, Blue Stream is now piping gas to Turkey prompting a ceremony attended by dignitaries including the Russian President.

Furthermore, at the ceremony Mr Putin suggested that the Blue Stream pipeline could be further developed to take gas into Mediterranean Europe. According to reports premier Putin and Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi have confirmed that the possibility of extending the pipeline to Italy is being assessed.

If realized the so called ‘South European Gas Ring’ would be the first direct link between Russia and southern Europe and it would compliment the pipeline link currently being built to Germany in the north.