The decision to increase purchases from Gazprom signals the end of a conflict between Turkey and the gas monopolist over prices and volume of gas to be sent through the $3.5 billion pipeline under the Black Sea.
In June 2003, Turkey and Gazprom threatened to take each other to international arbitration court after Turkey halted imports through the pipeline on the grounds of weak domestic demand and asked for a revision of volumes and prices. Turkey resumed imports via the Blue Stream, which Gazprom runs together with Italy’s ENIin August, and in late November Gazprom said it had fully resolved the gas price row, although it did not specify under what terms the dispute had been ended.
An official from Turkey’s state pipeline company Botas said Gazprom planned to export 1.1bcm of gas through the Blue Stream in 2003, and 4bcm in 2004. Under the Blue Stream deal, Turkey must import at least 0.8bcm via the Blue Stream in 2003; the deliveries should gradually rise to 16bcm a year later this decade.
But a Turkish government report has warned against over-dependence on Russian gas. The energy market watchdog, EPDK, said in a February report that by the end of 2004 61.7% of Turkey’s entire gas imports will be used to generate electricity. “That means a political dispute with Russia may leave Turkey in the dark,” an EPDK official said.