Ankara Says Ready to Transit Iran Gas to EU

Ankara Says Ready to Transit Iran Gas to EUAnkara Says Ready to Transit Iran Gas to EU

Turkey is willing to transit Iranian gas to European markets, Turkey's interim minister of energy and natural resources said, as the Persian Gulf country is planning to expand its gas export markets beyond the Middle East and reach out to European buyers.

"Turkey is positive on transiting Iranian gas to Europe via Trans-Anatolian Pipeline," Ali Riza Alaboyun said on the sidelines of the Eighth International Energy Congress held on November 4-6 in Ankara, IRNA reported.

The Trans-Anatolian Pipeline or TANAP is a natural gas pipeline from Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey to Europe. Construction of the pipeline began formally in March 2015 and is expected to be completed in 2018.

The project is strategically important for both Azerbaijan and Turkey, as it will allow first Azerbaijani gas exports to Europe, beyond Turkey. It will also strengthen the role of Turkey as a regional energy hub.

Referring to the sanctions against the Islamic Republic, Alaboyun said, "Energy policies of every state are entangled with their foreign policies … Access to Iranian gas will be viable once western sanctions against the country are lifted."

The official added that Turkey has turned into a major energy hub in the region.

Iran is the second biggest natural gas exporter to Turkey after Russia, supplying around 10 billion cubic meters of gas a year to the northwestern neighbor.

However, Iran-Turkey energy ties have been marred over the past few years, as the latter took Tehran to court over allegations that Iran's natural gas supply was inconsistent and overpriced compared to Russian and Azerbaijani gas.

During an April visit to Tehran by Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iran offered to double natural gas exports in return for a price cut, which was turned down by Turkey.

Turkey's interest in transiting Iran's gas comes as Azerbaijan's SOCAR said last week it is considering the possibility of transiting Russian gas to Iran, based on which Russia could deliver gas to Iran’s north and receive the same volume of gas or liquefied natural gas from Iran’s south through the swap deal.

Iran hopes to raise gas export to 150-300 million cubic meters per day by 2021.

Discount Demand on Russian Gas

"Turkey is seeking a price discount of more than 10.25% for Russian gas at international arbitration," Alaboyun said, stressing that Ankara may drop the case if Moscow agrees to the discount.

Turkey said in February it struck a deal giving it a 10.25% price discount on gas from Russia’s Gazprom but that accord was not signed and state pipeline operator Botas said last week it had appealed to the International Chamber of Commerce after months of fruitless talks.

A spokesman at Gazprom said last week the possibility of an out-of-court settlement remained. Alaboyun did not rule that out either.