Greece may reach deal with Turkey in $300 mln natural gas dispute

BOTAŞ officials had earlier said they would sue DEPA for debts of around $300 million, arising from natural gas purchases from Turkey, in a Swiss court of arbitration.

Greece may reach deal with Turkey in $300 mln natural gas dispute

Greece's state-owned natural gas company, DEPA, has said it is currently in negotiations towards a fair and mutually acceptable agreement with the Turkish Pipeline Corporation (BOTAŞ) within the contractual framework, and may come to an understanding with the Turkish corporation on a $300 million natural gas dispute.

In a letter addressing debt-crippled Greece's parliament on Tuesday, DEPA said, "Based on the progress that has now been made, it could reasonably be said that both parties will reach an agreement within a relatively short period of time," the English-language paper Athens News reported Tuesday. "Otherwise, the issue will be settled through arbitration, as provided in the contract," DEPA added. The statement to the Greek parliament came in response to a question raised by opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (Laos) deputies Ioannis Korantis and Alekos Chryssanthakopoulos.

BOTAŞ officials had earlier said they would sue DEPA for debts of around $300 million, arising from natural gas purchases from Turkey, in a Swiss court of arbitration. Greece received 443 million cubic meters of natural gas from Turkey in 2008, increasing to 721 million cubic meters in 2009. The total amount of natural gas Turkey sold to its western neighbor amounted to 660 million cubic meters last year. Following an earlier increase in the price of gas imported from Azerbaijan, Turkey had to pay Azerbaijan $300 instead of the earlier estimated $120 for each cubic meter of Azerbaijani gas. Turkey added this price increase into the price of the natural gas it sold to Greece, too.

The Greek company said Tuesday that "any references made by Turkey or others to outstanding debts owed by DEPA to Turkey's BOTAŞ constitute unrecognized unilateral assessments," underlining that that it does not accept the readjustment of the natural gas price it was supposed to pay to BOTAŞ.

Previously, Turkey insisted that it was not going to force Greece to pay the $300 million until its neighbor proves strong enough to stand on its own two feet. Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız stated that Turkey was "not going to exercise its right to arbitration and will postpone recovery of the Greek debt until Greece gains financial stability." The minister also ruled out the suggestion by international institutions that Greece could pay off its debt in the form of real estate, meaning the sale of Greek islands in the Aegean. Yıldız said such a move "would be taking advantage of a neighbor at a very difficult time."

Cihan

Last Mod: 21 Eylül 2011, 18:05
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