Arab Today, arab today turkey to seek price reduction for russian gas
Last Updated : GMT 20:09:10
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Turkey to seek price reduction for Russian gas

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Turkey to seek price reduction for Russian gas

Ankara - AFP

Energy-dependent Turkey will ask for a discount on the price of the gas it buys from Russia, its energy minister said on Friday, with tension over Ukraine a background factor. "The negotiations and agreements we concluded with Russia give us the right for a price revision in the coming months," Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters in Ankara. "We will convey our demands on this to Russia and Gazprom officials," he added. Gazprom deputy head Alexander Medvedev will hold a meeting with Turkish government officials on Monday for further discussions, according to the minister. Despite their divergences on some political issues including the Syrian crisis, Turkey and Russia are increasing their trade and energy links. Turkey depends on Russia for most of its natural gas and oil supplies. In 2010, Ankara struck a deal with Moscow for Russian interests to build Turkey's first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu in the southern Mersin province. "I am of the opinion that we will sincerely resolve this problem as we always do," Yildiz said. "Right now we are selling (gas) below cost. We are making very serious efforts not to let our citizens and industrialists be affected by (high costs)," he added. Energy imports are one of the major reasons for Turkey's high current account deficit -- a weak point which leaves the country's economy vulnerable to global financial turbulance. Turkey is expected to discuss a number of energy projects with the Gazprom official next week including the controversial South Stream pipeline, which would pump natural gas to Europe via the Black Sea. Ankara has not ruled out the prospects of letting the project run through its territory if Moscow made such a request. "There are different arguments we will develop if South Stream (officials) makes such a request," said Yildiz, without elaborating. "Turkey will maintain its positive attitude as usual. These issues will be negotiated," he added. Russia has been pushing South Stream as a way to ensure its gas reaches Europe, avoiding pipelines that run through its neighbour Ukraine. Ukraine is at the centre of a major crisis involving Russia, which has taken control of Crimea, and western nations which have imposed retaliatory sanctions against Russia. However, several countries in Europe are heavily dependent on Russian gas. Experts warn that the Russia-Ukraine crisis could be risky for Turkey and create supply problems in the future because some of the gas it receives from Russia passes through Ukraine. "We believe that a deal can be made to ensure a sustainable flow of natural gas for Ukraine in the coming three to four months," Yildiz said. "Maybe we can meet with energy ministers of European Union member states. I don't think there will be a problem as long as both sides -- the EU and Russia -- take positive steps," he added. Analyst Mete Goknel, former director of Turkey's state-owned pipeline company Botas, advised Ankara to cultivate energy partnership with Moscow in order to prevent any possible supply problems. "Turkey's cooperation in international energy projects will be to its advantage," Goknel said. "In this geography, Turkey has the luxury to go against neither the Russian Federation nor Iran," he told AFP. Turkey, which has very few resources of its own, is also dependent on gas and oil imports from neighbouring Iran.

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