* LNG plant could help supply region
* Turkish energy demand rising rapidly
* Ankara seeking to diversify energy supplies
By Orhan Coskun
ALGIERS, Jan 5 Turkey will discuss building a
liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal with Qatar on its Aegean
coast to help meet rising domestic needs and as Turkey's role as
an energy supplier to Europe grows, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz
said on Saturday.
Yildiz said the planned terminal on the Gulf of Saros, an
inlet in European Turkey, would have an annual capacity of 5
million to 6 million cubic metres and could help supply Bulgaria
and Greece as well as help Turkey meet its own rising LNG
"We think it would be appropriate to build an LNG terminal
on the Gulf of Saros to meet the needs of Turkey and the region.
Qatar would carry out the feasibility work and evaluate the
project," Yildiz told reporters in Algiers on the first day of a
visit to Algeria, Libya and Qatar.
"This would help relieve the (Bosphorus) Straits traffic and
Bulgaria and Greece could benefit from the facility as well."
Turkey is becoming an increasingly important player in
global energy markets, both as buyer and as transit hub linking
producers to its south and east with European economies keen to
The country of 75 million people is set to overtake Britain
as Europe's third-biggest electricity consumer within a decade.
Turkey's daily gas demand was about 125 million cubic metres
in late 2012 and is likely to rise to nearly 220 million during
the harsh winter months, energy ministry officials say.
It buys natural gas from Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan and LNG
from Nigeria and Algeria under long-term contracts.
Qatar is the world's largest LNG exporter but mainly sells
to Asian markets. Turkey currently has no long-term contracts
with Qatar but is starting to negotiate them, Yildiz said.
GROWING LNG DEMAND
Yildiz said Turkey had agreed to extend its contract to buy
an annual 4 billion cubic metres of LNG from Algeria for 10
years from October 2014, when an existing contract will expire.
"We will also discuss the pricing mechanism. Turkey has a
growing demand for LNG. We need long-term contracts for this,"
Yildiz said Turkey's demand for natural gas peaked in
January and February and that it would ask for at least two or
three spot cargoes from Qatar in that period, and would also
request two spot cargoes from Algeria.
"We will not have issues meeting the demand even if these
cargoes are not received," he said.
Turkey is also seeking to diversify its crude oil suppliers,
particularly as U.S. sanctions on Iran have forced it to reduce
imports from that source.
Washington says Tehran is enriching uranium to levels used
in nuclear weapons and has imposed sanctions on global trade
with Iran's energy and shipping sectors. Iran says its nuclear
programme is for peaceful purposes.
Turkey cut its Iranian oil purchases by at least 20 percent
last year in order to win an exemption from the sanctions.
"We can meet the oil demand (via) Libya now that supply from
Iran is decreasing. The amount of oil we buy from there may
increase above 1 million tonnes," Yildiz said, adding that
Turkey was also negotiating for higher oil imports from Russia.
Yildiz said he would also discuss oil purchases from Algeria
during his trip, and that Turkey's state-owned energy company
TPAO planned to take part in upcoming Algerian oil exploration
tenders together with its Algerian counterpart Sonatrach.
(Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Roger Atwood)