Moscow prepared to discuss gas issues with Ankara - ambassador

Russia is prepared to hold negotiations with Turkey on the issue of increasing gas exports to this country, Russia's ambassador in Ankara, Vladimir Ivanovsky said.

"The Turkish side did in fact in December indicate interest in increasing the volumes of blue fuel purchased in Russia and further developing cooperation in the area of gas," Ivanovsky said in an interview with Interfax.

"The Russian side, in turn, expressed a willingness to enter into substantive negotiations on this year, as increasing volumes by the requested 3 billion cubic meters requires the resolution of a number of technical issues at the level of experts," Ivanovsky said.

He said that Russia's Gazprom has always promptly increased natural gas supplies at Turkey's request in cases of increased demand and disruptions in supplies from other countries and has tried to accommodate its Turkish partners.

Asked whether Turkey expected a reduction in the price of Russian gas, Ivanovsky said that "this is apparently best discussed with specialists, since this refers to commercial interests."

He also said that Russia is prepared to consider increasing transshipments of gas along the Blue Stream pipeline.

"Experts from the two countries are now considering the possibility of increasing shipments of natural gas along the existing Blue Stream gas pipeline," Ivanovsky said.

As for exports of gas along this route to the markets of third countries, Russia is willing to consider this issue if there is interest in Turkey and other countries of the region, Ivanovsky said.

Asked about the fate of another Russian-Turkish energy project, the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline, he said that this issue is still on the agenda of relations between Moscow and Ankara.

"The Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline project remains on the agenda of contacts between energy officials at the working level. The main issue, as it is seen now, is in the necessity of seriously increasing the economic appeal of the project for potential investors and suppliers," Ivanovsky said.

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