Turkey Turns Off Azeri Gas to Greece

Turkey has halted the flow of Azeri gas to Greece due to a suspension of gas supplies from Iran to Turkey, a senior Turkish Energy Ministry official said Wednesday.

Iran, one of Ankara's main suppliers, stopped pumping to Turkey on Monday, Turkish officials said. Tehran blamed the disruption on cold weather and a cut in Turkmen gas supplies. The senior Turkish Energy Ministry official said daily gas consumption in Turkey had fallen to 124 million cubic meters from 142 million as a result of measures prompted by the halt in Iranian gas flows.

He said agreement had been reached with Greece to make up for the cut in their supplies in coming days.

George Stergiou, head of Greece's natural gas grid management company, said gas from Turkey stopped on Jan 5.

"We are not facing any shortage because we continue to get natural gas from Russia and also have liquefied natural gas coming from storage facilities in Revithousa," he said.

The pipeline between Turkey and Greece was inaugurated last November in a fresh step to boost ties between the former foes. It will eventually carry some 12 bcm of gas per year -- 3 bcm of which will be for Greece -- from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field.

The Turkish official said there was no change in the 13.5 million cubic meters of gas coming through the Azeri pipeline into Turkey, but that this was for now being used exclusively in Turkey.

Russia, Turkey's other main energy provider, is unable to allocate additional supplies, a Turkish Energy Ministry official said earlier.

A senior Iranian official said deliveries to Turkey had not been completely cut and that the head of the national gas company, Reza Kasaizadeh, had promised that they would be gradually increased. He did not specify when.

He said he believed Turkmenistan wanted to increase prices for its gas and that this was a factor in its move to cut deliveries to Iran some 10 days ago. Like other Iranian officials, he said Turkmenistan had cited technical problems.

Meanwhile, Gazprom said Wednesday that it had boosted gas deliveries to Turkey and Greece from last month. Turkey's Botas requested that Gazprom increase deliveries on the Blue Stream pipeline to 38 mcm per day from 30 mcm, and Gazprom said it had done so. "Gazprom has once again met an emergency request from a customer for additional supplies of gas in a timely manner," Gazprom said in a statement carried by Interfax.

Greece also requested that Gazprom increase deliveries above contract levels late last month. Gazprom did so, delivering an extra 1.5 mcm per day.