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ENERGY > Turkish Minister: Anatolia only feasible gas route for Israel, Greek Cyprus

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Turkey awaits normalization with Israel to discuss energy projects, as Israel’s energy plans would only be reasonable if Turkey was involved, Turkish Energy Minister has said

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A recently opened Israeli gas platform is seen about 15 kilometers west of the port city of Ashdod. The country started pumping gas on March 30. REUTERS photo

A recently opened Israeli gas platform is seen about 15 kilometers west of the port city of Ashdod. The country started pumping gas on March 30. REUTERS photo

Turkey is not indifferent toward Israel’s energy projects for transferring the Eastern Mediterranean natural gas and oil to the international markets, since the resources would be not be feasible unless they were transferred through Turkey, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said.

“It is the same for Greek Cyprus,” Yıldız told reporters yesterday. “It will have no benefit to your people if you say ‘I will do it even if it is expensive.’ I’m telling this both for Israel and Greek Cyprus,” he said, adding that the projects would be meaningful only if the right move is made.

But, discussing energy deals before the restoration of ties between Turkey and Israel has been finalized would be impossible, according to the minister.

“As relations normalize in the future, then we can discuss if natural gas could be transferred by a pipeline through Turkey,” the minister said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered an apology to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 22, over the Israeli raid on Gaza-bound flotilla the “Mavi Marmara” in 2010, which killed nine Turks.

The reason why Israel apologized to Turkey was “not the energy projects,” but those projects could form part of the outcome, the minister said.

Ankara would follow suit if Israel were to fulfill its commitments to restore ties with Turkey, Yıldız added. 

In 2009, Israel discovered some of the largest offshore reserves of natural gas. A burst of exploration followed and, by the end of 2013, 18 new wells are expected to be drilled at a cost of $1.8 billion.

Nuke plant process

On the other hand, Yıldız said the process for a second nuclear power plant in Turkey had been extended due to competition between bidding companies as Turkey sought further advantages. “We are very close to the final decision,” he said.Talks are continuing with four firms, from South Korea, Japan and China, who are bidding for the construction of a second nuclear plant in Turkey. In March, GDF Suez, a French electric utility company, with Japanese Mitsubishi Corp and Itochu Corp, submitted a joint bid to build the plant.

Turkey is already working on a separate plan to carry Caspian natural gas to the western province of İzmir, a project that might turn the energy-hungry country into a gas distribution hub. The $7 billion Trans Anatolia Pipeline (TANAP) is a joint project with Azerbaijan’s state-run Socar as two consortia, Nabucco West and Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP) competing to distribute the gas from the Shah Deniz II gas field to half a billion potential consumers in Europe.

April/03/2013

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