Turkey to decide on Iran gas investment in 2 weeks

Washington is lobbying Turkey to support the threat of economic sanctions against Iran.

Turkey to decide on Iran gas investment in 2 weeks

Turkey will decide within two weeks on whether to go ahead with investment in Iran to produce natural gas.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said late Tuesday the deal, with an estimated worth of $5.5 billion, had political support in Ankara.

The decision to press ahead now rested with firms carrying out feasibility studies in the South Pars gas field, Yildiz told Reuters in an interview.

"We will decide within two weeks on our final decision on the investment in Iran," Yildiz said.

"This project has complete political support, but companies are carrying out the talks ... If the feasibility is not high we will not continue," he said.

A partner in the European Union-backed Nabucco pipeline project, Turkey supports the idea of using Iranian gas as throughput for the proposed pipeline, which aims to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian gas.

A net energy importer, Turkey is trying to secure more gas for itself and maximise its potential as a hub for cross-border pipeline projects linking Europe to suppliers in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Yildiz said Turkey planned to bid, along with Russian partner Gazprom and some U.S. firms, in future tenders to develop Iraqi oilfields.

Turkey was part of a Gazprom-led group that won rights last year to develop Iraq's Badrah oilfield.

The minister also said Turkey planned to finalise the privatisation of its natural gas grids this year.

Ankara has been pushing to speed up the pace of its privatisation programme, which slowed in 2009 due to poor market conditions.

Washington is lobbying Turkey to support the threat of economic sanctions against Iran.


Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Mart 2010, 16:16

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