Sunday, November 20, 2005

World Bank to Credit for Gas Reservoir in Turkey's Salt Lake

By Ercan Baysal
Published: Saturday, November 19, 2005

Purchasing natural gas from Russia and Iran, Turkey wants to store some part of this gas in reservoirs to secure it supplies.

The state-owned Turkish pipeline company, BOTAS, began studies to establish two gas reservoirs under Salt Lake and Marmara Sea.

BOTAS sent the data about the project it prepared for the reservoir in Salt Lake to the World Bank and applied for a $325 million credit, $245 million will be used for the Salt Lake project, and the rest will be used for the natural gas facilities to be established in Erzincan and Corum.

A top level BOTAS official disclosed in order to regulate the natural gas demand, which may change hourly, daily, and according to seasons, gas storage is a must, and the Salt Lake and Marmara Sea projects are being conducted in this frame.

The same authority noted they have taken steps to realize the Salt Lake project and have sent a file with necessary documents for the tender to World Bank. Six companies applied to BOTAS for the project. Russian Gazprom Company is one of these; however, Gazprom wants to undertake the project without a tender. The same administrator emphasized BOTAS does not conduct a project without a tender in principle. "We told them to participate in the tender. We expect World Bank to approve the credit of the project on November 29."

Turkey purchases the second biggest amount of natural gas from Iran after Russia; however; the pressure of Iranian gas is low and unexpected gas cuts in winter caused Turkey to have complains, but Iran does not want to negotiate the issue at the table.

BOTAS gives importance to Iranian gas so not to be dependent on Russia and for numbering the sources; however, the Turkish pipeline monopoly will take any measures in order to security its supply. "Despite the resistant attitude of Iran we are negotiating with Russia for a further decrease in the price of the natural gas," said BOTAS official, "Nonetheless, it is possible the gas coming through Blue Stream pipeline will go to Israel also.

Thus, the amount of gas important may change also." No payment has been made to Russia in the frame of import so far. "There may be some amount in excess in 2006 but we can spend this amount in order to increase the capacity of natural gas power plants."


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