Turkey could double the amount of natural gas it imports from Iran if the two countries can agree on a price, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said, a day after a visit to the Islamic republic, Hurriyet Daily News reports.
In an interview with Reuters, the minister said natural gas purchases from the Islamic republic was a key topic during Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit, but added that the two sides were still far from agreeing on a price.
“We have discussed how we could increase our imports to 20 billion cubic meters and the price mechanism needed for that,” Yildiz said, adding that Turkey had insisted on a reduction in the gas price.
Iran has responded by offering to sell more gas to energy-hungry Turkey and the offer is being considered, he said. “We have not found their price offer satisfactory at this stage,” he added.
“Obviously, without the price being agreed upon, we can’t sign such a deal. Our teams will continue to work on this,” Yildiz said.
Turkey has long maintained that Iranian gas prices are too high. Turkey’s state-owned Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAS) applied to an international court of arbitration in 2012 over the gas price in a case that is still pending.
Turkey depends on imports for almost all of its natural gas needs, which are expected to reach 52 billion cubic meters this year.
The $60 billion energy bill Turkey has to fund annually has been the biggest driver of its ballooning current account deficit and is seen as the main weakness of the economy.
“We have also discussed a barter system with Iran, through which we could swap various goods with energy imports,” Yildiz said, without giving further details.
During the interview, Yildiz also said Turkey would stand by a consensus reached in December 2013 between Ankara, Baghdad and Arbil to seek Baghdad’s permission, but not its blessing, in exporting Iraqi Kurdistan’s oil.
“Before the Baghdad trip, we were asked if we could say we will not be exporting any oil without Baghdad’s approval. We responded saying ‘No, we cannot,’” Yildiz said.
Yildiz traveled to meet Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Shahristani in early December, en route to Arbil. His presence at an Arbil oil conference signaled Turkey’s determination in its ambitions in Iraqi Kurdistan.The minister said during his visit intense talks were held among the three parties to identify a wording that would suit them all.“And that’s how that consensus text was established. It was not set up only by Turkey. We stand by that text,” he said
Source : panarmenian.net
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