Installation of the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline in the Black Sea will begin next year, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Wednesday.
"Everything needed for the current work has been approved," Novak told reporters in Istanbul, according to comments carried by Russian state news agency TASS.
"According to the signed agreement, the deadline for finishing the construction of the land and sea portions of Turkish Stream is the end of 2019," Novak said.
The pipeline, to carry Russian gas to south-eastern Europe, possibly including European Union member state Greece, was initially proposed about two years ago but fell by the wayside as Russian-Turkish relations were devastated by the conflict in Syria.
Now, Turkey and Russia are trying to restore their previously robust relations. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan finally signed a deal this week to build the pipeline.
Putin was in Istanbul for the first time since a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border last year.
During his visit, Putin gave a speech to the World Energy Congress in which he said Russia was ready to join members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in limiting production of crude oil, as exporters look to prop up prices for the commodity.
Novak was expected to meet with OPEC ministers on Wednesday to discuss the proposal.