Iran Economy NewsIran offers small oil, gas fields to Turkey

Iran offers small oil, gas fields to Turkey

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Reuters: Iran may offer Turkey four or five small oil and gas fields to develop, for which the Turkish government will seek private-sector investment, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Monday.

By Tulay Karadeniz

ANKARA, Jan 24 (Reuters) – Iran may offer Turkey four or five small oil and gas fields to develop, for which the Turkish government will seek private-sector investment, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Monday.

Each of the fields, which are located in close proximity to one another, may require investment of $100 million to $200 million, Yildiz told reporters. He did not elaborate further.

Largely Muslim Turkey has close commercial and political ties with neighbouring Iran, its second-biggest gas supplier.

But the NATO member has also faced pressure from the United States to enforce sanctions aimed at bringing Iran to the negotiating table over its disputed nuclear programme.

Yildiz reiterated Turkey’s stance that it observes United Nations sanctions against Iran but said it is not obligated to adhere to a separate U.S. embargo that targets Iranian energy.

“We comply with the U.N.; we are not in a negative mode,” he said. “The U.S. Senate’s (legislation on sanctions) does not apply to Turkey. We cannot just ignore Iranian resources … Show us an alternative to Iranian gas.”

The latest offer from Iran came after the failure last year of a $5.5 billion deal, first agreed in 2008, for Turkey’s state-run oil company to develop a South Pars field.

“The most important thing is whether this overlaps with our interests. We can’t agree with Iran on everything,” Yildiz said.

OIL IN VENEZUELA

Separately, Venezuela has offered Turkey two oil fields to develop in return for housing construction projects, Yildiz said. The energy investment may be up to $2.4 billion, he said.

The two sides are discussing a production-sharing agreement, and Turkey may be allowed to transport some of the oil, he said.

Yildiz also said Turkey was in exclusive talks with Japan on the construction of a second nuclear power plant.

French companies had approached Turkey with an offer, but it was impossible to ignore France’s resistance to Turkey’s joining the European Union when considering that offer, he said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been a vocal opponent of Turkey’s bid to join the EU and in the past has said the populous, Muslim country on the geographical boundaries of Europe has “no place” within the EU.

Yildiz said earlier this month Turkey had received proposals from French utilities GDF Suez and EDF to build an atomic power plant on Turkey’s Black Sea coast as the country seeks to launch a nuclear power industry. (Writing by Ayla Jean Yackley, editing by Jane Baird)

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