Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Turkey: No energy issues with Russia, Energy min. says. Russia will wait for results of elections in Turkey before solving Turkish Stream issues

Turkey has no energy issues with Russia, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Ala Riza Alaboyun said Wednesday, in an exclusive interview with the Anadolu Agency Editors' Desk. 

After Russian fighter jets violated Turkish airspace at its border with Syria last week, there were claims in local and international media that Turkey may look for other sources of natural gas supply than Russia, along with other suppliers for its first nuclear plant.

Alaboyun said that recent remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were misinterpreted.

"President Erdogan's remarks were a response to questions regarding Syria. His answers about finding sources for natural gas and building the nuclear plant were interpreted as if we had problems with Russia. We have no issues with Moscow about energy. This should be known," Alaboyun said.

"Russian gas imports constitute 60 percent of our total gas consumption. We import 14 billion cubic meters (bcm) from Russia via the Western line, and 16 bcm from Blue Stream. More than half of the gas we import is used to produce electricity, while the rest is used for industrial and household use," he explained.

Turkey and Russia are currently negotiating a discount for imported gas.

Alaboyun stressed that the gas price discount Turkey is asking for from Russia, and negotiations for the construction of the Russian-proposed Turkish Stream gas pipeline project are two different issues, and therefore should be discussed separately.

"We are the second biggest consumer of Russian gas after Germany. Since [Russian gas company] Gazprom sells cheaper gas to Germany, we wanted a price reduction. We have the right to revise gas prices every three years based on our gas contracts," he explained.

"Gas price revisions with Moscow and the Turkish Stream pipeline project are different subjects. They should not be mixed together," he added.

The Turkish energy minister also said that Russia has changed its mind frequently about the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project, and stressed that "Russia has not maintained a decisive attitude about the project."

  • "First, Russia wanted to deliver 63 bcm of gas by constructing four pipelines under the Black Sea. Then, Alexei Miller [head of Gazprom] said last week that Russia decided to halve this to 31.50 bcm and to deliver it over two lines," he said.

While 15.75 bcm of Russian gas over one line will be carried to Turkey via the Turkish Stream, Alaboyun said: "We have prioritized the project's Turkish part. However, nothing is clear yet, it depends on Russia. Even the decision period for the TANAP project with Azerbaijan took around 3 years." 

  • Political agreements regarding the Turkish Stream remain, but in order to address the issues on this gas project it is necessary to wait for the results of the elections in Turkey, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.

He was speaking at the government hour in the State Duma (lower house of parliament).

"This situation is developing, because the elections are yet to take place in Turkey and in the absence of a permanent government in Turkey there are no persons authorized to sign documents required for the Turkish stream project’s implementation. Political agreements remain and the Turkish president confirmed this on September 23 in Moscow. The Energy Ministry is also receiving confirmations on the level of experts."

"Let's wait for the elections, when the government is formed in Turkey that is authorized to make a decision," he said.


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