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Italy, Greece, Turkey sign gas pipeline deal

Italy, Turkey, and Greece have signed an agreement to build a pipeline to bring natural gas from the Caspian and the Middle East to European markets, Italy's Edison gas company said Thursday.

“The gas pipeline will go into operation in 2012. It will help diversify gas supply sources, while promoting competition,” a company spokesman said, adding that it is of strategic importance. The agreement comes after months of negotiations on shipping natural gas from the Caucasus to Western Europe through Turkey and Greece.

The Turkish-Greek section is expected to begin operating in late August, while construction on the Greek-Italian link, owned by Italy's Edison and Greece's DEPA, should begin next year. The pipeline will include a 212-kilometer undersea connector from Greece to Italy, worth an estimated €300 million ($411 million), and should carry some 11 billion cubic meters of gas a year to Greece. (