Russia waits for Turkish gov't to be formed to proceed with projects

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 17.11.2015 23:01
Updated 17.11.2015 23:04
The Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant will be just like the Russian nuclear power plant in Novovoronej, as seen in the photo. Russian officials now wait for the Turkish government to use a $3 billion fund.
The Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant will be just like the Russian nuclear power plant in Novovoronej, as seen in the photo. Russian officials now wait for the Turkish government to use a $3 billion fund.

Russia is waiting for a new government to be formed before investing a $3 billion fund, which the country is keeping in Turkish banks and paying taxes on, into the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant

Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Turkey from Nov. 15-16 to attend the G20 Leaders Summit in Antalya, where he met with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The two leaders discussed the future of the Turkish Stream project, which is planned to carry 63 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas to Europe via the Turkish-Greek border, and was previously stalled over disagreements on a natural gas discount between the countries. Turkey and Russia agreed to a 10.25 percent discount on Turkey's gas purchases last December; however, almost one year after an agreement was reached, the discounted prices have yet to be implemented. Last month, Turkey's state-owned energy company, the Petroleum Pipeline Company of Turkey (BOTAŞ), requested international arbitration, as BOTAŞ and the Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom, have not been able to come to terms on the discount to be applied to Russian natural gas prices. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Alaboyun said Erdoğan and Putin discussed the projects, however, the arbitration case was not mentioned during the discussions.

Alaboyun stressed that Russian authorities want the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project to progress. The project will be Turkey's first nuclear power plant, but Turkey first needs to make changes to its coastal law, the Energy Market Regulatory Authority should guarantee the purchase and in order to sign the energy deal, the appropriate licenses should be provided. Parliament will approve the regulations of these three issues to turn a $3 billion reserve fund into investment, Alaboyun said. Russian officials want this to be solved immediately since taxes must be paid on the mentioned amount waiting in Turkish banks. This also increases the importance of forming the new government as soon as possible.

Turkey launched the construction of its first nuclear power plant in April, a $20 billion project, for greater energy self-sufficiency. The nuclear power station in Akkuyu in the southern province of Mersin is being built by Russia's nuclear agency Rosatom. The nuclear power plant to be constructed in Akkuyu will consist of four units, each of which will be able to generate 1,200 megawatts of power. The power plant is expected to produce approximately 35 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year after its construction is completed, and its service life is expected to be 60 years.

Russia needs to reach a deal with third countries like Greece

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Ali Rıza Alaboyun said the Russian government needs to reach a deal with third countries like Greece to proceed in the Turkish Stream, which is planned to carry 63 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas to Europe via the Turkish-Greek border. Alaboyun stressed that there are many details about the Turkish Stream that need to be addressed, but neither parties were opposed to the idea. Moreover, while there have been many discussions in this respect, the project has been on hold since the June 7 elections.

Underscoring that during the construction of the South Stream pipeline project, Turkey had allowed feasibility studies to be undertaken by Russia, Alaboyun said Russia has again requested authorization to perform feasibility studies for the Turkish Stream project. However, Turkey can only give permission for the pipeline that will cover its own demand. Russia needs to convince other countries that will become involved in the project to cover the rest.

Stressing that Russia also needs to make a deal with other countries such as Greece for the Turkish Stream project just like it did with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project (TANAP), which is being constructed to carry Azeri natural gas to Europe via Georgia and Turkey. During the TANAP's planning stage, agreements with all related countries have been made and the project was implemented afterward. "Therefore, the Russians want the government to be formed," Alaboyun added.

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