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Turkey may become an oil, gas medidator, says former Armenian PM May 30, 2011

Posted by Yilan in Armenia, Turkey.
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Sarkisian suggested Turkey and India partner with each other on the vast Arctic resources.
Sarkisian suggested Turkey and India partner with each other on the vast Arctic resources.

Turkey could play a significant role in mediating between energy dependent Europe and oil- and gas-rich Russia and Iran, said Aram Sarkisian, a former Armenian prime minister and energy professional today.

“Without Russia and Iran, Caspian oil and gas could not be transferred to Europe,” Sarkisian told the Hürriyet Daily News over the weekend.

“The pipeline projects to bring the vast resources of the Caspian region to Europe through Turkey are still in question,” said Sarkisian, who is currently the president of Euroasia House, a London-based institution involved in research and policy development on Russian oil and gas. “Conditions have changed rapidly in the Caspian region including Turkey after the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline was stretched from Azerbaijan to Turkey,” he said, noting that delays in the implementation of alternative pipelines to Europe might end up with irrecoverable losses.

He was speaking on the sidelines of “Global Energy Outlook” conference organized by the Istanbul International Energy and Climate Center at Sabancı University.

Urge for Nabucco

“Turkey is the only country that could bring Iran and Russia together again to open negotiations for energy security in the region,” he said. “Russia has always been seen as a mistrusted neighbor, due to historical constraints. Armenia’s confidence in Russia may be established by Turkey as it became one of the Russia’s strongest energy partners.”

According to him, as the energy demand rises in Europe, the long-term discussions over the details of the route of the Nabucco plan, the gas bridge project from Asia to Europe, should come to an end.

The pipeline to connect the world’s richest gas regions – the Caspian region, Middle East and Egypt – to the European consumer markets, might “change its route to China due to rising demand in Chinese market,” he said. “I think the European Union has no energy policy,” he said. “The vast sources of Caspian oil and gas might go to the Chinese market eventually if Europe keeps on waiting, delaying the projects.”

Emphasizing Turkey’s close ties with Russia, the former Armenian prime minister said the trust harmed by the disagreement resulted in supply disruptions in many European nations, with complete cutoffs of their gas supplies transported through Ukraine from Russia in 2009 “could be restored by Turkey.” In order to have sustainable energy security in the region, “we all have to trust in each other in the region,” Sarkisian told the Daily News.

Arctic resources

Moreover, Sarkisian suggested Turkey and India partner with each other on the vast Arctic resources. “Turkey and India, as emerging economies, should have a say on the Arctic oil and gas resources,” said Sarkisian.

Total Arctic resources are estimated to be nearly 90 billion barrels of oil, 1.67 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Emphasizing the importance of the vast oil and gas resources in Iran, Sarkisian said, “Being a European country both economically and culturally, Turkey can mediate between Iran and the European Union to make use of the vast resources there.” Without the approval of Iran, Caspian resources could never be fully developed, according to Sarkisian. “Everyone waits for the change in the Iran, but the change will come once the EU starts opening its doors to relations with Iran.”