Discount for Russia gas
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
AA photoAnkara scored “a serious discount” on Russian natural gas after agreeing to allow Moscow to build a pipeline through Turkish waters, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said yesterday.
“Turkey is in a better position in terms of natural gas compared with three months ago. The South Stream Project opened a space to improve our strategic partnership with Russia,” Yıldız told reporters.
The minister said the discount Turkey received on Russian gas would be valid until the end of contract terms in 2021 and 2025.
Yıldız, who signed the agreement with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Dec. 28, said Turkey agreed to the South Stream project to fulfill its task of helping supply Europe’s energy demand.
“Although the energy chapter has not been raised in our negotiations with the European Union, Turkey allowed this project to fulfill its requirements regarding energy. After this deal, no project will be left dependent on Turkey’s consent. I hope the EU will open the energy chapter in our negotiations,” Yıldız said.
Turkey will purchase 3 million cubic meters of Russian gas that was originally slated for “take or pay” contracts, he said.
Turkey’s state-run pipeline company BOTAŞ withdrew from Westline due to a price dispute with Russia in September. Since then, Turkish private firms have been bargaining on possible gas exports from Russia. “If private companies sign an agreement for the Westline, they can take the natural gas as of June 2012,” Yıldız said.
The energy minister said the Trans-Anatolia pipeline would not overshadow the Nabucco project. Turkey and Azerbaijan signed a memorandum of understanding Dec. 26 to establish a venture to build the Trans-Anatolia pipeline, which will stretch across Turkey from east to west and possess a capacity of 16 billion cubic meters a year.
“Trans-Anatolia will not overshadow Nabucco, but if Trans-Anatolia can be carried out, Nabucco would take the natural gas from the Bulgarian border instead of Georgia,” he said.
Commenting on oil exploration in the Black Sea, Yıldız said Turkey would not give up drilling for oil in the region.
Oil exploration takes a long time, he said. “We will not give up after the seven drilling [operations] – we will continue exploration in the Black Sea. If there are offers from private firms, we will evaluate them.”