QENERGY Europe and Turkey inching closer to QATAR LNG deal

Turkish Ambassador Yunt

A high-level Qatari delegation will visit Turkey this month in in a bid to finalise a deal between the two countries for long-term import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Gulf state to the Asiatic-European country, a top diplomat said.

Turkish Ambassador to Qatar H Emre Yunt told Gulf Times yesterday his country would like to see the arrangement signed as soon as some issues on the pricing of the commodity are settled.

In an exclusive interview, the envoy said the volume of Qatari LNG import to Turkey can at least be doubled from its current level if the long-term agreement is put in place.

“We look forward to it. It is important for our economy and will our cement brotherly ties with Qatar,” added Yunt whose country has seen a remarkable surge in energy demands to meet the growing needs of industrial sector.

He could not, however, predict whether the deal can be sealed during the visit, saying it will be too early to comment on that.

The ambassador explained the negotiations for the LNG agreement are ongoing and the issue was high on agenda at the meetings of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had with the Qatari leadership during his visit to Doha last week.

The disclosure by the ambassador came on the heels of reports last month that Turkey was seeking to buy an additional 6bn cubic metres (bcm) of LNG including some from Qatar under long-term contracts to meet its growing energy needs.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz then told reporters in Ankara talks with Qatar on the purchase have begun but the world’s biggest LNG producer may not provide all of the additional fuel.

Turkey wants to procure the LNG by 2015, the minister was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

The country of 75mn people at the crossways of the Asian and European continents is heavily dependent on imported energy and is seeking to diversify supplies as demand grows.

It is set to overtake Britain as Europe’s third-biggest electricity consumer within a decade.

Turkey buys natural gas from Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan and LNG from Nigeria and Algeria under long term contracts.

It currently has no such contracts with Qatar, which mainly sells to Asian markets.

Turkey has asked Qatar to help build an LNG terminal on the Gulf of Saros, an inlet in European Turkey, which would have an annual capacity of 5-6bcm.

Qatar’s economy, one of the fastest growing in the world, gets major dividends from the export of LNG as some of the mighty Asian economies like India and China are already importing and Pakistan is next in the queue.

Yunt said Turkey also looks forward to attract Qatari investment in some areas of its booming economy like the hospitality, real estate and banking sectors.

Source: Caye Global News, AFP/Gulf Times

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