Four firms sign Gazprom deal
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Employees work in front of a digital map at the Moscow headquarters of Gazprom, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies. Turkish firms are bidding to buy natural gas from the Russian supplier via the West Line. DAILY NEWS photo
Only four out a total of 13 companies that have applied to Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK) to buy Russian natural gas have managed to sign purchasing deals with Gazprom, the supplier of the gas via the West Line, according to sources.
Turkey’s state-run pipeline company Botaş and Russia’s Gazprom failed to agree to terms for further gas trade via the pipeline by the end of last year. However, the trade continued with the Energy Ministry calling on private firmb to replace Botaş in the West Line trade, which supplies gas mainly to Istanbul.
Akfel, Bosphorus Gaz, Kibar Holding and the newly founded Batı Hattı A.Ş. are the four companies already holding Gazprom deals, among the 13 companies that have applied to the EPDK. At least five or six of these companies are expected to complete contracts, Reuters quoted Turkish officials as saying earlier last week.
The government earlier determined an Aug. 10 deadline for applications for Russian gas purchasers. However, the remaining nine companies have been given a further ten days to finalize their paperwork, including a deal with Gazprom. The Energy Ministry said earlier that authorizing private sector gas trade with Russia was an important step in liberalizing the energy market. The private companies will start buying West Line gas as of Jan. 1, 2013.
The largest deal is held by Akfel, the local partner of Germany-based Enerco, with 2.5 billion cubic square meters, while Bosphorus Gaz’s deal is for 750 million cubic square meters, Hürriyet said.
Batı Hattı A.Ş.’s parters include Abdullah Tivnikli, chairman of Eksim Holding, and local retailer BİM’s shareholder Mustafa Latif Topbaş. Tivnikli is also a board member of Turkey’s landline telephone operator Türk Telekom.
Eksim is already involved in the energy business, and is still interested in Turkey’s electricity distribution tenders with a consortium including Albaraka Türk and Kuveyt Türk, two participation banks, Tivnikli told Hürriyet. Gazprom was convinced in the deal after seeing the company’s business plans and goals, he said.
The total amount of natural gas exported to Turkey by the private sector will increase to 10 billion cubic square meters with the finalization of the West Line deals, Bosphorusgaz Chairman Metin Şen said.
This accounts for 25 percent of the country’s annual 50 billion cubic square meters of gas imports.
A full list of the EPDK-authorized companies for West Line gas purchases is as follows: Maya Petrol, OMV Enerji, Aksa, Uzman Enerji, Angora Gaz, Bosphorusgaz, Naturgaz, Hattuşa Enerji, Batı Hattı, Akfel, Coren Enerji, Kibar Enerji and Aygaz. Turkey is trying to diversify its natural gas resources and reduce it dependency on Russian gas. The Trans-Anatolia Project (TANAP), a $7-billion pipeline deal with Azerbaijan that will carry Caspian gas to western Turkey, is a large part of this effort.