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October 31, 2013 10:42 am

Turkish Energy Minister: ‘Turkey is Interested in Israeli Gas’

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avatar by Joshua Levitt

Natural gas from Israel's Tamar field began flowing to customers in 2013. Photo: Screenshot / Youtube.

Natural gas from Israel's Tamar field began flowing to customers in 2013. Photo: Screenshot / Youtube.

Turkey is interested in playing a large role in exporting Israel’s gas deposits, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz told an energy conference in Istanbul, Israeli business daily Globes reported on Thursday.

“Turkey is interested in Israeli gas,” Yildiz said, adding that “although there are political problems, they are solvable.”

At The Economist’s European Energy Summit, Israeli, Turkish, and foreign companies discussed connecting Israel’s Leviathan gas field to southern Turkey via a pipeline that would cost between $2 billion and $3 billion and could supply up to 10 billion cubic meters (BCM) of natural gas a year to Turkey.

Most of the gas would be used by Turkey, and some would probably be sent from Turkey to Greece and other EU countries.

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Turkey has no gas reserves of its own, and currently imports 44 BCM a year, two-thirds of which comes from Russia and the rest comes from Azerbaijan and Iran, as well as expensive liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Algeria, Globes said.

APCO Worldwide Istanbul managing director Zeynep Dereli said that the project would be cost effective for Turkey at a natural gas price of $10 per million BTU, Globes reported from another energy conference, at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore last week.

In September, a Turkish pipeline operator Turcas Petrol also “volunteered” to help Israel get its natural gas to Europe, proposing to develop and construct a $2.5 billion, 470 km pipeline to connect the country to Israel’s Leviathan natural gas platform.

A Turkish pipeline project would compete against another possible route, through Cyprus, which has closer relations with Israel.

Last week, Globes reported that Eli Groner, Israel’s Economic Attache to the U.S, said that Israel’s commercial and diplomatic relations with Cyprus and Greece are becoming closer as they work together on issues related to the natural gas, as well as collaborate to combat terror threats.

In August, Israel’s Minister for Energy and Water Resources Silvan Shalom  signed a three-way agreement with Greece and Cyprus relating to interconnecting electricity grids, protecting natural gas deposits and desalinizing sea water. One proposed route for the export of the natural gas is to Cyprus, then to Greece.

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