Turkey may up use of Shakh Deniz gas

ANKARA – Ankara may increase the amount of gas it plans to consume from a pipeline running through Turkey from the Shakh Deniz gas fields in Azerbaijan to Greece, a senior Energy Ministry official said yesterday. Turkey has been promised 15 percent of the gas when the pipeline starts operation. «The priority is that the gas taken through this pipeline will be used to meet domestic demand. It was initially planned that (Turkey) would take 15 percent of the gas from this pipeline, but this may be increased,» said the Energy Ministry official. Ministers from Turkey, Greece and Italy signed an agreement in July on construction of the pipeline that will connect Azerbaijan’s Shakh Deniz gas to Italy and is expected to cost -400 million. The South European gas pipeline deal, under which Turkey will sell gas, is the second major agreement the country has signed recently to secure its role as a regional energy hub and natural gas trader. An increase in gas supplies is more likely if more of the pipeline’s capacity is used. «The current capacity of the pipeline is 20-22 billion cubic meters, while the amount which is taken through it is 6.6 billion cubic meters,» the official said. The second, $10 billion phase of Shakh Deniz, Azerbaijan’s biggest gas field, has been delayed by one year to 2013 as the project faces development problems. Turkey is trying to find more sources to fill the pipeline and talks are being held on carrying Turkmen, Kazakh, Iranian and Azeri gas to Europe via the BTE pipeline between Azerbaijan and Turkey, the official said. «Turkmen and Kazakh natural gas may be transported to Europe through this pipeline. In addition, Azeri gas may be transported to the West through this line in the second phase of Shakh Deniz,» he said.