Turkish pipeline for Iranian and Turkmen gas
Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz recently broke ground for part of a pipeline to carry both Iranian and Turkmen
natural gas to Turkey and the rest of Europe.
Turkey is scheduled to receive Iranian gas by mid-1999 through a pipeline already under construction between this eastern city and the Iranian border.
"The first 100 km of the pipeline have already been built," said Nevzat Arseven, head of the state-owned pipeline company Botas, in reference to the 301 km pipeline between Erzurum and the Iranian border.
Yilmaz broke ground on the Erzurum-to-Ankara leg.
The country's demand for natural gas, both for industry and residential heating, is expected to quadruple to 45 bn
cmpy by 2005.
According to the $ 20 bn deal with Iran, Turkey will initially buy 3 bn cm of gas from its eastern neighbour each year. The amount will be quadrupled later.
"We are aiming to finish our part of the pipeline in 24 months," said Uzeyir Garih, president of Alarko holding, which will build one-third of the pipeline between Erzurum and Ankara. The whole construction project to Ankara is scheduled to end in 2001.
Turkey also plans to purchase gas from Turkmenistan but it is not expected for another four years. In a deal signed last month Turkey agreed to purchase some 16 bn cm of gas each year.
It is unclear which route that gas would be transported through. But Washington has encouraged Turkey and
Turkmenistan to opt for a pipeline crossing the Caspian Sea and not use the Iranian pipeline to transfer the
Erzurum would then be the main junction for pipelines running from Iran and Turkmenistan through to the capital Ankara, some 880 km to the west.
Ankara is also vying for an oil pipeline that would transport Caspian Sea oil to Turkey's Mediterranean coast.