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Turkey to import natural gas from Iraq

Turkey has begun moves to start importing natural gas from Iraq, a spokesman for Turkey‘s energy market regulator EPDK revealed on Wednesday. The spokesman confirmed that EPDK was inviting companies interested in importing Iraqi natural gas to apply for import licenses by April 9th.

Companies would be able to begin importing up to 700 million cubic metres a year in 2014, rising to 3 billion cubic metres a year by 2017, he said, adding that it was still unclear how many companies could be issued with licenses and how much gas in total could be imported.

“It depends on how many companies submit applications and what type of pipeline is built,” he said, explaining that procedures for building pipelines were not the responsibility of the EPDK. At present, no gas export pipeline exists from Iraq to Turkey, although such a line has long been a topic of discussion, both to supply Turkish needs and to export gas to Europe.

In 1996 the then-prime minister Necmettin Erbakan signed a protocol with the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein allowing for the construction of a line with a capacity of 10 billion cubic metres a year. However the line was never built, due to international sanctions applied against Iraq at the time.

More recently, the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline project, which plans to transport gas from Turkey to the European Union and has proposed that up to half of the pipeline‘s volume could be sourced from Iraqi supplies.

Source: Europe Online Magazine