Firm sole candidate to import Iraqi natural gas

Firm sole candidate to import Iraqi natural gas

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Firm sole candidate to import Iraqi natural gas

Turkey is working to diversify its oil and gas imports.

The Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK) has turned down the applications of 11 out of 12 companies to import natural gas from Iraq. Siyah Kalem, a Turkish contractor also active in Pakistan, remains the sole candidate, according to Reuters.

Aside from Siyah Kalem, which was approved by Botaş, Turkey’s state-run petroleum pipeline company, a total of 11 firms applied for licenses to import natural gas from Iraq, including IC Grup, Istanbul Gaz and Delta A.Ş. Those firms were turned down due to incomplete documents, according to energy officials who gave information to Reuters.

Approval awaited

One official said the EPDK had asked the Ministry of Energy whether the deal signed by Siyah Kalem with the regional government in northern Iraq was legal. “The EPDK also wrote to Botaş asking where Siyah Kalem would make a connection to the pipeline in Turkey if it imported natural gas from Iraq,” the official said, noting that the EPDK would respond to the license demand of Siyah Kalem to import natural gas after it received answers from the Ministry of Energy and Botaş.

The application deadline was April 9.

The EPDK gave extra time for firms to complete documents. Private firms may import natural gas from countries that Botaş does not purchase from after receiving a license from the EPDK.

There is no pipeline to transport natural gas between Turkey and Iraq, which is said to be desperate to export natural gas soon, as the country is having difficulty meeting the rising electricity demand in the country.

The EPDK may grant licenses to firms to import up to 700 million cubic meters in 2014, according to the official website of the EPDK.

The figure increases to 1.5 billion cubic meters in 2015 and to 2.5 billion cubic meters in 2016. The figure remains at 3 billion cubic meters between 2017 and 2031 and then rises to 3.1 billion cubic meters in 2032 and 3.2 billion cubic meters in 2033. The EPDK initially expressed a positive opinion about the application of Siyah Kalem to import natural gas from Iraq.

But later a condition was put forth to store 10 percent of the annual amount of natural gas in Turkey in five years from the activity start date.

The company, mainly active in energy infrastructure and housing projects, is currently developing border posts in Hatay, the Turkish province that neighbors Syria.