Russia to sell gas directly to Turkey

MOSCOW (Combined reports) – Russian gas monopoly Gazprom will sell up to 750 million cubic meters of natural gas per year to Turkish consumers under a deal signed with a Turkish energy group yesterday, Gazprom said. «According to the agreement reached, Gazprom has the possibility of directly supplying 750 million of cubic meters of Russian gas to Turkey every year until 2021,» state-run Gazprom said in a statement. The deal was signed with Bosphorus Gas, a company set up in Istanbul in 2003 to take part in Turkey’s natural gas market. The company is 60 percent owned by Turkey’s Tur Enerji and 40 percent by Gazprom. Gazprom signed an agreement with Turkish pipeline company Botas in 2004 that enables the Russian energy giant to sell directly to Turkish consumers. In 2006, Gazprom exported a total of 20 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey. Almost all of it was sold through Turkish intermediaries. Separately, the acting general manager of state pipeline company Botas, Saltuk Duzyol, said yesterday that Turkey is ready to receive gas from Azerbaijan’s Shakh Deniz field. «For a long time Turkey has been 100 percent ready to receive Shakh Deniz gas,» Duzyol told Reuters. The $4 billion project is operated jointly by BP and Norway’s Statoil. It started production in December but had to halt output soon afterward due to a leak from the first well, which has also halved this year’s production forecast. It now plans to start exports to Georgia and Turkey in the second quarter of this year. Shakh Deniz’s total reserves are estimated at 1.2 trillion cubic meters. Besides BP and Statoil, which have 25.5 percent of the project each, Azeri state energy firm Socar, LUKAgip, NICO and Total each have 10 percent. The other 9 percent is held by Turkey’s TPAO. Turkey is counting on Azeri gas and hoping to begin large-scale exports of the fuel from the Caspian Sea to Southern Europe later this decade via the Nabucco pipeline, seen as key to Europe’s energy diversification. (AFP, Reuters)