Turkey embracing Russian gas

Dec. 5, 2012 at 7:49 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- The Turkish energy minister said Russian officials expressed a "very positive" view of closer natural gas ties between the countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived this week in Turkey, which is positioning itself as a major energy bridge for Europe.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Ankara is keen to secure more natural gas from Russia in light of sanctions pressure on Iran.

"The Russian side is very positive about this," he was quoted by Turkish daily newspaper Today's Zaman as saying.

Yildiz said both sides could work outside of conventional contractual frameworks to facilitate an increase in natural gas deliveries. He said a working group was examining how much natural gas Turkey may need from Russia.

Russian energy company Gazprom aims to build its South Stream gas pipeline through Turkish territory for European consumers. The European government, however, had opened an anti-trust investigation into Gazprom for its business practices in parts of the region.

This week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara would continue importing natural gas from Iran despite Western sanctions on the Iranian energy sector.

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