16 Nov 2021 14:51

Turkey in talks with Gazprom on new contracts, extension of Turk Stream contracts

ABU-DHABI. Nov 16 (Interfax) - Turkey is continuing negotiations with Gazprom on the bulk of contracts for gas supply to the country through the Turk Stream pipeline, Turkish Deputy Energy and Natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar told reporters.

"We are in talks with Gazprom to increase gas supplies to Turkey because there is a free, uncontracted capacity of 9.75 billion cubic meters of gas in Turk Stream. The contracts expire this year, so there will be such spare capacity in Turk Stream in 2022. We're talking about new contracts, renewal of some contracts, we are negotiating, I cannot say anything more at this stage," he said.

He admitted that the situation with Russian gas supplies was complicated by the problem of private importer companies: "The real problem with private importers is arbitration - they offered a discount, then won the arbitration, so private importers suffered."

"'Gazprom needs to understand the needs of the domestic market, because today the price of gas is quite important, and it is not easy to increase the price of gas for the population, no one wants to pay more," the Turkish official added.

"I think Gazprom wants to sell more gas to Turkey, Turkey needs gas, so it's a 'perfect alliance.' Turkey is a growing market, gas consumption is growing, I think Gazprom has the capacity to supply gas to both Turkey and Europe, we have the infrastructure, enough gas pipelines, so I don't see any problem," Bayraktar said.

Gas consumption in Turkey is expected to rise to a record 60 billion cubic meters in 2021.

In 2015, Gazprom granted a discount of 10.25% to private Turkish importers, but a year later demanded its cancellation. Claims against Akfel Gaz, Bat Hatt, Kibar Enerji, Avrasya Gaz, and Enerco Enerji were filed with the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and arbitration in accordance with UNCITRAL regulations. The arbitration bodies cancelled the discounts for private companies as of January 1, 2017. Failure or difficulty in enforcing the arbitration court ruling in Gazprom's dispute with Turkish private importers is holding back Russian gas supplies to the country. As a result, some of the former private buyers may not participate in negotiations on new contracts and may be replaced by other importers.

Since the beginning of the 2000s, Turkey has embarked on a liberalization of the natural gas market, under which most of the contracts of state-owned Botas have been reassigned to private importers. However, after a failed coup attempt in 2016, Law N674, "On Measures Under the State of Emergency Regime," was passed, and external management was imposed on these companies by the state Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF), which effectively meant nationalization.