September 29, 2011 - 21:58 AMT
Situation in Syria may hamper Azerbaijani gas supplies

The unstable situation in Syria may hamper Azerbaijani gas supplies to this country via the Pan-Arab gas pipeline, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters on Thursday.

The construction of the Syrian section of the gas pipeline between the Syrian city of Aleppo and the Turkish city of Kilis, through which Azerbaijani gas will be exported to Syria, will be completed in February, Syria's Deputy Oil Minister Hassan Zainab told Trend. The total length of pipeline between Aleppo and Kilis is about 65 kilometers.

The parties agreed to supply 1 billion cubic meters of gas during Syrian President Bashar al Assad's visit to Azerbaijan in July 2009.

According to Yildiz, as regards to the agreement on deliveries of Russian gas to Turkey, it can be prolonged if Russia reduces gas prices. Turkey will not experience gas deficit if parties can not agree on prolonging the agreement, and the economy will not suffer from this, he said.

According to the inter-governmental agreement between Russia and Turkey, signed in 1986, the gas flowing to Turkey through the Blue Stream pipeline is not taxed. Today, Russia is considering the abolition of these privileges. The country's Ministry of Finance proposed a lower rate of minerals extraction tax for the Gazprom Company for 2012-2014 under the condition of the cancellation of privileges for the Blue Stream.

Blue Stream pipeline project envisages deliveries of Russian gas to Turkey via the Black Sea, bypassing third countries. The capacity of the pipeline is 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

In 2010, Gazprom supplied 8.07 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey via the Blue Stream. The gas supplies to Turkey via this pipeline are expected to total 13 billion cubic meters this year.

According to Yildiz, in the matter of purchase of Turkmen gas, a great initiative should be made by the private sector of Turkey.

"In the future, all contracts with Turkmenistan and Russia should be implemented by the private sector," Turkish Weekly quoted Yildiz as saying.