Turkey ready to deliver Turkmen gas to Europe

Turkey ready to deliver Turkmen gas to Europe

ASHGABAT - Reuters
Turkey is ready to deliver Turkmenistan’s natural gas to consumers in Europe, Turkish President Abdullah Gül said yesterday, supporting the Central Asian nation’s plans to build alternative pipelines and ease dependence on exports to Russia.

Turkmenistan, a Turkic Muslim nation of 5.5 million, pins hopes of future propriety on its giant natural gas reserves, the world’s fourth largest.

As Turkmenistan plans to start production at the Galkynysh natural gas deposit, the world’s second largest, by June 30, its current export outlets are limited by former imperial master Russia, China and neighbouring Iran.

“We have discussed issues and signed an agreement on bringing Turkmen energy supplies to Europe via Turkey,” Gül said through an interpreter after talks with Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat.

Yesterday, the two presidents oversaw the signing of a framework agreement on cooperation in Turkmen gas deliveries to Turkey. It was inked by Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister Baymurad Hojamukhamedov and Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız.

Senior Turkish officials had said earlier Turkmenistan would be welcome to link to the $8-billion Trans-Anatolian natural gas pipeline (TANAP). The TANAP project, controlled by Azerbaijan’s state energy firm SOCAR, aims to take Azeri gas to Turkey and to markets in Europe. Azeri officials have said they will back the construction of a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan across the Caspian Sea, if Ashgabat takes such a decision.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s competition watchdog has approved SOCAR’s acquisition of a 50 percent stake in Turkey’s Star Media.