Turkey’s Energy Minister said on Wednesday the country would push ahead with a planned deal to produce and export gas from neighboring Iran, saying cancellation of the deal was “out of the question.”
Turkey and Iran failed to conclude expected energy accords during a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Turkey in August. The United States, which is seeking to isolate Tehran over it nuclear program, opposes the plan. “It is of the question that the natural gas deal with Iran will be suspended. I will go to Tehran to sign when the text of the deal is ready,” Hilmi Guler told reporters.
Under the deal, Turkey’s state-owned petroleum company TPAO will explore in Iran’s South Pars field and gas will be piped to Turkey for consumption or re-export to European markets. Guler also said that Azerbaijan had agreed to sell extra gas produced in the second phase of its Shakh-Deniz project to Turkey.
The minister said the government plans to finish off the tender process for Turkey’s first nuclear power plant this month and also intends to launch a tender for a second nuclear power station in the Black Sea town of Sinop by the end of this year.
A Turkish-Russian group was the sole bidder in a tender to build and operate Turkey’s first nuclear power plant. The bidding consortium consisted of Russian firms Atomstroyexport and Inter Rao along with Turkey’s Park Teknik Group. “Russia has two types of nuclear power station technology. The Turkish Atomic Energy Institution will examine all aspects if they offered the modern one,” Guler told reporters. The tender is for the first of three planned nuclear power plants in Turkey, which is heavily dependent on energy imports. The lack of widespread interest appeared to be a blow to Turkey’s efforts to develop nuclear energy. (Reuters)