September 16, 2023 [Reuters]- Turkey plans to expand its gas infrastructure as it lays the groundwork to establish a gas exchange from which countries in southeast Europe will be able to source gas, Turkish Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar said.
Russia proposed setting a gas hub in Turkey last year, to replace lost sales to Europe, playing into Ankara’s long held desire to function as an exchange for energy-starved countries.
Discussions did not advance much, as Turkey suffered devastating earthquakes in February and focused on elections in May. Disagreements over who should be in charge of the hub also delayed negotiations, two sources familiar with the project told Reuters.
Turkey plans to expand its gas infrastructure in northwest Turkey’s Thrace region, connecting LNG gasification terminals and an upgraded storage facility in Silivri.
Gas coming from Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia through pipelines could also feed into this hub and be priced in a local gas exchange, Bayraktar told a press briefing held on Thursday but embargoed by the ministry until Friday.
Ankara would also like to strike a deal with China in a few months to build a nuclear plant in Thrace, Bayraktar said. “We have been in talks with a Chinese company for a very long time. We are quite close.”
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