Russia's gas giant Gazprom is ready to supply gas to private Turkish companies if Turkey's state gas pipeline operator Botas terminates its gas supply contract with the Russian gas exporter, Gazprom's export head Alexander Medvedev said on Monday.
"We see that the gas supplied via the western corridor finds demand among commercial and industrial consumers," Medvedev told journalists.
"If the contract with state company Botas is not extended, we are ready to supply these volumes to our current and new partners - private firms - for a further sale to final consumers on the Turkish market."
On September 30, Botas informed Gazprom that it would not extend a contract to get 6 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia next year, after Moscow failed to agree to cut gas prices. Botas was said to have demanded a 20 percent gas price reduction.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz has said if the gas deal to supply gas through the western corridor is not extended, the Turkish authorities will let private companies tender for the gas. The move is in line with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's energy policy of putting import contracts in private hands. as Turkey is seeking to become a key transit hub for Europe.
Russia supplies gas to Turkey, Moscow's second largest energy importer, through the so-called western corridor via Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania, and directly via the Blue Stream pipeline in the Black Sea. In 2010, it supplied 18 billion cubic meters to Ankara, about 60 percent of Turkey's total domestic gas consumption.
The dispute with Turkey follows the European Commission's raids on Gazprom's facilities in Europe on suspicion of EU antimonopoly law violations.
Gazprom's prices for long-term gas supply contracts have long been the subject of heated debate with its German partners E.ON and RWE, which have called for a spot price mechanism to obtain cheaper gas. In July, Gazprom made concessions to Italy's Edison S.p.A, which was the first to file a suit against Gazprom, but dropped it after the agreement had been reached.