The prospective $1.5-billion pipeline, which will be 700 km (435 miles) long, will go through Turkey from the Black Sea port of Samsun to the port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean. It is designed to reduce the oil transportation load on the Black Sea straits of Bosporus and the Dardanelles, which is some 150 million tons (1.1 billion bbl) annually.
"The goal of the document signed yesterday is to study the technical and commercial opportunities of the oil pipeline, its influence on the environment, and to compare them with projects to supply oil via the Black Sea straits," Canan Ediboglu, the head of Shell's Turkish division, told journalists.
She said Shell will assess the project from the viewpoint of the route and its security, and will then make a final decision on whether to join it or not.
Ediboglu said Kazakh oil will also be transported through the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline.
The construction of the pipeline, designed to pump 75 million tons (551.3 million bbl) of oil annually, will start in 2007 and will be completed within three years.