Monday, November 18, Europe will see the opening of its first natural gas pipeline providing gas from the Caspian Sea area without crossing Russian territory. The natural gas is extracted in Azerbaijan and crosses Turkey, reaching Greece.

Leaders from Greece, Turkey, USA, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Italy will attend the official opening of the project, known as the “South European Gas Ring”.

The construction of the pipeline begun in July 2005.

Arriving in Greece, the line follows the route of the Marita river. Plans are to expand the line towards Italy, through an underwater duct crossing the Adriatic Sea. The construction of this segment is scheduled to begin in 2008 and end in 1012. The European Union participates in the financing of this project with 130 million euros.

The new gas pipeline has a 700,000 cubic meters per day capacity, representing 250 million cubic meters per year.