Russia’s Gazprom said Switzerland’s Allseas Group S.A. has begun constructing the first stage of the Turkish Stream pipeline.
The natural gas pipe will run from southern Russia across the Black Sea to Turkey, allowing the state-owned company to send gas direct to southern Europe while circumventing Ukraine.
Gazprom said Allseas’ vessel Audacia had started laying pipes on the Russian shore of Black Sea, Reuters reports.
In a statement, the company’s Chief Executive Alexei Miller said the Turkish Stream project would be finished by the end of 2019.
Previously Gazprom said it would start laying pipes under the Black Sea for Turkish Stream in the second half of 2017.
Gazprom has for years sought a way to ship gas direct to southern Europe but had to scrap the previous project, South Stream, because of opposition from the European Union.
The cost of the project, announced in late 2014, was seen between $12 and $13 billion.