Turkey 'welcomes pipelines passing through its soil'
REUTERS PhotoTurkey is eager to host oil pipelines that will connect much-needed energy resources with global markets, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız has said, while signaling a conditional willingness to transport much-disputed Eastern Mediterranean resources.
“Turkey is warm to all natural gas pipelines that will pass through its soil,” Yıldız said at the International Mediterranean Energy Conference hosted by the Istanbul of Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 8.
The remarks came as he was talking about a potential project to transport natural gas resources from off Cyprus to Europe.
Yıldız stressed that Turkey would be willing to ease conditions to facilitate the economic feasibility of the project if the “required political environment can be established,” meaning an equal distribution of the resources between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides of the divided island.
Greek Cyprus’ independent hydrocarbon search off the island has sparked a crisis between the parties involved, as Ankara is pressuring for an equal split of the resources. The crisis further deepened two months ago, after Turkey sent the seismic research vessel Barbaros to nearby regions for its own oil exploration and deployed a warship to closely follow the activities of a Greek Cyprus platform in the island’s disputed economic zone.
However, Yıldız emphasized that Turkey is “positive” about transporting all of its neighbors’ energy resources to consuming destinations.
Citing the existing Baku-Tflisi-Ceyhan and Kirkuk-Yumurtalık crude oil routes passing through Turkey, as well as the under-construction Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline, he said these projects were based on the idea of sharing neighbors’ resources with the world.
In a separate news conference with his Algerian counterpart Youcef Yousfi, the minister also spoke of a recently proposed Russian gas pipeline route through Turkey, describing the plan as a “realizable project” rather than just a political maneuver.
“If there is an agreement over technicalities, then it’s a realizable project,” Yıldız said, pointing to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement inked between the Turkish Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAŞ) and Russian gas giant Gazprom as an indication of the projects viability.
During a recent visit to Ankara, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the cancellation of the multi-billion-dollar South Stream gas pipeline to Europe, saying instead that Russia would work with Turkey on a gas hub.
Speaking during the news conference, Yıldız also announced Turkey is in talks with the Algerian government to buy oil products, including crude oil.
The two governments have recently renewed and upgraded a 10-year liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal.