Energy Minister Recai Kutan on 1 May signed a major gas and electricity import deal with Turkmenistan. The accords followed the signing two days previously in Istanbul of a 25-year agreement for additional Russian natural gas imports (MEED 9:5:97).

Under the deal, which will involve supplying Turkey with 3,000 million cubic metres a year (bcm/y) of Turkmen natural gas, imports will start by the end of 1999, once pipeline connections between Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey are completed, Kutan said. The agreements were reached between the three countries at a meeting in Ashgabat.

On 6 May, Kutan also announced that a number of European companies, including France, had expressed an interest in building a pipeline from Turkmenistan to Europe via Iran and Turkey. He did not, however, name any of them.

State pipeline and gas agency Botas will produce about 20 per cent of the gas in Turkmenistan, cutting the overall cost by about 30 per cent, said Botas general manager Mustafa Murathan.

Electricity will also be imported from Turkmenistan via 132-kV transmission lines in Iran and 154-kV transmission lines in Turkey, until a 400-kV transmission line is completed, Kutan said. However, the minister did not say how much electricity would be involved.

The agreement with Turkmenistan is part of the government’s drive to assure imports to meet domestic demand projected at about 60 bcm/y in 2010

from about 8 bcm/y. Russian supplies according to the recent agreement will rise to about 30 bcm/y by 2010 from about 6 bcm/y.