(Adds details, quotes, background)
By Orhan Coskun
ANKARA, April 30 Turkey hopes to renew its
liquefied natural gas (LNG) contracts with Algeria but it must
first ensure that deliveries are timely, Energy Minister Taner
Yildiz told reporters.
Turkey's contract to acquire 4 billion cubic metres (bcm) of
LNG from Algeria's Sonatrach expires at the end of the year, and
officials from both countries are in talks to renew it, Yildiz
"We want to renew this contract, and they do as well. We
have reached a basic understanding but we made it known that we
do have a couple of wishes, the most important of which is that
we want the deliveries made on time," he said.
Turkish energy officials said delays of up to several days
in the delivery of LNG from Algeria have increased in recent
years and this has created difficulties for Turkey, especially
during winter months when demand for gas to heat homes and run
power plants soars.
Turkey imports 98 percent of the gas it consumes, and nearly
half of its power plants run on gas. Besides Algeria, it has an
LNG agreement with Nigeria and procures gas via pipelines from
Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan.
Russia has expressed interest in acquiring or building
Turkish gas-fired power plants and will also propose building a
natural gas storage facility here, Yildiz said.
Russian energy officials are investigating a location for
the facility, officials said.
Turkey has storage of about 2 bcm and is building an
additional 5 bcm of capacity. Officials say this still falls
short of its storage needs.
Yildiz also said he did not expect that political tensions
in Ukraine would affect the flow of gas to Turkey on the Western
pipeline, which delivers 16 bcm of Russia fuel to Turkey.
Ukraine is a major transit route for Russian gas to Turkey
and Europe, and disputes between Russia and Ukraine have
disrupted supplies in the past.
"I do not foresee any cuts in natural gas on the Western
pipeline but if there were, some issues on Turkish supply
security would emerge, but not for electricity. I don't expect
such a risk," Yildiz said.
A second pipeline, Blue Stream, sends Turkey about 14 bcm of
(Writing by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Daren Butler and