Baku, Ankara close to gas deal

March 24, 2010 at 9:37 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, March 24 (UPI) -- Turkey and Azerbaijan are expected to reach a settlement on gas prices in the near future, the Turkish energy minister said in Ankara.

Baku charges Ankara considerably less for natural gas than it charges other customers. Baku wants to raise the price for Turkey, though both sides have bickered over the terms.

Taner Yildiz, the Turkish energy and natural resources minister, said it has been more than one month since both sides have sat down at the negotiating table, Turkey's English-language daily newspaper Today's Zaman reports.

He said this was normal, however, as both sides were preoccupied with their diplomatic affairs.

Despite the delays, he said, Ankara was upbeat on the possibility of reaching a new pricing deal that was dictated by market conditions.

"I believe we will reach an agreement with our neighbors soon," he said.

Turkey and Azerbaijan are positioning themselves as major players in the regional energy sector. Azerbaijan sits on some of the largest natural gas deposits in the world, with roughly 30 trillion cubic feet of reserves on hand. Turkey, meanwhile, is set to host Russia's South Stream gas pipeline and Europe's Nabucco pipeline, which could rely on Azeri gas.

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