Nationalization Victim

“Gazprom may lose its biggest asset in Turkey,” Kommersant reported today.

“Turkish authorities in early December de facto nationalized Akfel Holding – the largest private gas importer in the country on suspicion of having links with the Gulen organization – in which Gazprom and Gazprombank have shares.”

The article continues:

“…[Gazprom’s] attempts to establish a dialogue with the Turkish authorities have so far failed…”

Gazprom is in a bind because they need to stay in the Erdogan regime’s good graces if they want the Turkish Stream project to be implemented. Meanwhile, the price discount for private importers which Gazprom reached with Turkey in April, will be defunct starting in January. “As a result, a new gas dispute with Turkey seems almost inevitable,” Kommersant informs its readers.

Gazprom holds a minority stake in Akfel Holding (the parent company of Akfel Gas). In early 2015, Turkey’s Daily Sabah reported that Gazprom was looking to acquire a majority stake in Akfel Gaz, but that deal never got approval from the Turkish authorities.

Turkey granted licences to four companies in 2012 to import six billion cubic meters of Russian gas between them. Kommersant writes that 55% of Gazprom’s supplies to Turkey go through Akfel. And that Akfel accounts for 20% of all Russian gas deliveries to Turkey.

According to an article in Hurriyet from April of this year:

“Turkish companies import 10 billion cubic meters of gas from Gazprom annually, in line with a 2013 contract. Russia is Turkey’s largest gas supplier with annual sales of 28-30 billion cubic meters worth around $6.5 billion. Turkey imports 60 percent of its gas and 35 percent of its oil from Russia.”

Turkey has nationalized nearly 1200 companies since July, accusing them of financing Gulen, according to Kommersant. Akfel Holding’s board of directors has already been replaced. One of the founders of the company has been arrested, the other has fled Turkey. But according to Kommersant’s sources, the two no longer hold a controlling stake in the company anyway.

Gazprom’s Alexei Miller met with Turkey’s Prime Minister shortly after the takeover of the company, but apparently could not get a straight answer about what was happening.

In nationalizing Akfel, Turkey has made “the bundle of Turkish gas problems” [i.e. import pricing, Turkish Stream, etc.] “permanently interconnected and politicized…”. Because on all the issues, the same people will be at the negotiating table, Kommersant concludes.

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