Turkey may consider selling Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) project shares to Iran, according to the country's Energy Minister Taner Yıldız. Turkey and Georgia signed an energy cooperation deal yesterday in Istanbul as partners of the TANAP project, which will carry Azeri natural gas to Europe through Georgia and Turkey. After the signing ceremony Yıldız answered questions regarding State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) Chairman Rovnag Abdullayev's statement. Abdullayev had said Tehran has shown interest in TANAP, which is Iran's only choice to offer its natural gas resources to other markets, according to him. Yıldız said that with the suitable trading terms and the right strategic cooperation, Turkey or SOCAR would sell some of their TANAP shares.
TANAP will be operated by SOCAR, which currently holds a 58 percent stake in the project. Turkey's state-owned energy operator BOTAŞ owns 30 percent and British Petroleum (BP) undertook 12 percent of the project with an agreement signed last week. The TANAP project's operating company will be headquartered in the Netherlands and the cost of the project is estimated at between $10 billion and $11 billion. Gas will flow through TANAP beginning in 2018. The transport capacity, which will initially be 16 billion cubic meters per year, will increase gradually, first to 24 billion cubic meters and then to 31 billion cubic meters. The amount of natural gas to be transferred is expected to rise with Iranian participation.
Discount for Iranian natural gas
After President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Tehran on Tuesday, a discount for Iranian natural gas and expanding the capacity of purchases became the main topics of discussion in Turkey-Iran relations. Although Iran is the second major natural gas supplier to Turkey after Russia, Turkey pays the highest price to Iran. Pointing out that Turkey buys over 90 percent of Iranian natural gas, during his visit Erdoğan said Iran should offer a better price to Turkey. Yıldız said Turkey will not decide to expand gas capacity before hearing Iran's new price, noting that Turkey's state-owned gas company, BOTAŞ, will increase the capacity of natural gas pipelines. The increase will be made by adding independent pipelines instead of enlarging existing ones.