ECONOMY

Gazprom, Botas agree on Middle East gas exports

ANKARA (Reuters) – A Turkish business group said yesterday Russian gas monopoly Gazprom and Turkey’s state gas pipeline company Botas had reached agreement on sales of Russian natural gas to Middle Eastern states. Turgut Gur, head of the Turkish-Russian business council, told reporters after talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that a deal had been clinched to transport the gas through the Blue Stream pipeline and to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. Erdogan met with the business group ahead of a planned visit to Turkey by Russian President Vladmir Putin starting today which is expected to focus on trade and security links. The gas would ultimately be destined for Israel, Syria and possibly other Middle Eastern nations, Gur said. Turkey will construct storage depots and a terminal for exporting the gas. No details were immediately available on how much gas from the world’s largest gas supplier would flow through Turkey. Israel plans to boost its natural gas use to account for 25 percent of its energy needs by 2025. Gas represents less than 1 percent of its balance now. Israel and Russia agreed in June to study the viability of long-term gas contracts. Turkey and Israel have said they are considering building an underwater corridor for natural gas, electricity and crude oil. Turkey buys most of its natural gas from Iran and Russia, but has complained about a glut of gas from the $3.5 billion Blue Stream pipeline, the world’s deepest pipeline that traverses the Black Sea seabed. The two nations last year avoided international arbitration after resolving a dispute over the price and amount of the gas.