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Turkey readying for oil search in northern Iraq

Turkey, Iraqi government and the United States will sit at the negotiating table in March to discuss oil exploration in oil-rich northern Iraq, says energy minister
Turkish Daily News
February 28, 2007
As the Turkish government is debating whether to establish dialogue with the Iraqi Kurdish leaders, Energy Minister Hilmi Güler said Turkey would be sitting at the negotiating table next month with the United States and the central Iraqi government in order to explore oil in oil-rich northern Iraq.
"The first step in that regard will be taken in March," Güler said in an exclusive interview with business daily Referans. He added that the meetings with U.S. and Iraqi officials would take place in Turkey.
The Iraqi side requested help from Turkey in the area of oil exploration, said Güler, stressing that Turkey's interlocutor was the central Iraqi government and that the Turkish Foreign Ministry was also following the issue.
Güler said the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) was currently searching for oil in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Syria. "We have oil exploration work around Mountain Cudi in Sirnak and have found oil, though it's very little."
Plans under way for oil search off Cyprus:
In comments on possible Turkish steps in the face of Greek Cypriot insistence to press ahead with oil and gas exploration off the eastern Mediterranean, Güler said: "We already had a program drafted years ago. We're proceeding with that program. This is not a move to retaliate [against Greek Cyprus]."
He said Turkey in the past carried out some oil exploration work in the Iskenderun gulf in the southern part of the country but stressed that such work had been done mostly in the Black Sea.
"Energy-rich Iran can meet its needs":
Güler said neighboring Iran had the capability to meet its energy needs with its rich oil and natural gas resources and emphasized that the country could use the nuclear energy only as an alternative.
The minister said he did not see it likely that the row in the region over Iran's disputed nuclear program would lead to a chaos. "This is not wrestling where one holds the other's neck, while the other holds the leg."
Chevron wants to look for oil in the Black Sea:
On the British Petroleum (BP) move to hand over its license to TPAO after a couple of years' work searching for oil in the eastern Black Sea, Güler said that did not mean a lack of oil in the region.
"BP made a preference in that direction," he added. Stating that the Brazilian oil company Petrobras was currently searching for oil in the Black Sea, Güler said Chevron wanted to carry out similar work in the region.
Azeri gas to surface on March 6:
Asked about Azeri natural gas expected to be transferred to Turkey through the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (BTE )pipeline, Güler said a technical problem encountered in a natural gas well planned to be transported to Turkey had been eliminated.
"On March 6, an initial amount of natural gas will be extracted from the well." He said Greece would also utilize gas supplies from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz fields under the BTE pipeline project.
"We'll provide Greece with natural gas through undersea pipelines and that the supplies will eventually be transported to Italy and southern Europe."
Güler described as a bonus Iran's long-awaited offer to TPAO for oil exploration within its own territory. TDN earlier reported that on the sidelines of a joint economic commission meeting in Ankara that Güler and Iran's visiting foreign minister agreed on oil exploration by TPAO in Iranian territory.
Caspian option versus Iranian pipeline:
Another verbal agreement between Turkey and Iran was the transfer of Turkmenistan gas via the Iranian pipeline, instead of undersea pipelines through the Caspian, a move that is expected to create concern in the United States. Washington backs energy projects aimed at the transfer of Turkmen gas through the Caspian. Güler said Turkmenistan officials were considering the Caspian option versus the Iranian pipeline from which Turkey already obtains natural gas.
© 2005 Dogan Daily News Inc.
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| Ander Nieuws week 10 / nieuwe oorlog 2007 |