Russian energy major Gazprom has drawn the criticism of Turkish oil major BOTAS, which alleges that the Kremlin-supported entity has been using price increases to put pressure on Turkish firms. Officials from private Turkish oil and gas firms have expressed similar discontent with Gazprom, which they accuse of raising gas prices in order to induce Turkish gas companies into putting pressure on Ankara to make a lopsided deal that favors Russia. Turkish officials have also pointed to recent drops in oil and gas prices and note that price increases do not mirror the global price of natural gas.
Turkey is currently in negotiations with Russia to reduce the price of Russian natural gas, and has tentatively agreed to partner with Russia in developing a submarine pipeline that will funnel Russian natural gas underneath the Black Sea and into Turkey, presumably on its way to European markets. Gazprom offered a 6% discount in natural gas prices to Turkish negotiators, though Ankara is currently vying for a more significant discount.
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- In a surprising change of rhetoric, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka announced that his country is now prepared to engage in “constructive dialogue” with NATO. The statement was made during a speech given to senior Belarusian military officials yesterday. Lukashenka was emphatic in proclaiming Belarus to be a sovereign nation and that, as such, should be engaged with multiple partners.
- A decree issued by Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov earlier this week marks the beginning of a new military conscription period in Turkmenistan. Each year segments of the Turkmen populace, all of which form part of the Turkmen military reserves, are called in for exercises and training. The decree states that Turkmen citizens called for conscription will receive their “normal salary, as well as additional wages,” according to rank.
- Mongolian mining company Xanadu Mines announced that it will begin exploration activities at its Oyut Ullan copper-gold mine project in the Dornogovi province of southern Mongolia. The project will make use of induced polarization data as well as involve more than 2,000 meters of surface trenching. Previous efforts in 2013 revealed the presence of both gold and copper in the area.
- Production of natural gas in the Azerbaijani natural gas field of Shah Deniz increased markedly in 2014. BP Azerbaijan reports that existing bottlenecks in operations at Shah Deniz were resolved during 2014 and that as a result production was increased from 27.3 million cubic meters per day to 29.5 mcm³. The rise in production brings the Shah Deniz field to near peak volumes of extraction.