Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said a significant number of agreements have been prepared for the Turkey-Russia High-Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) meeting in Moscow today.
He revealed that the agreements, set to be signed at the meeting, will not just address the economy, but will also deal with technical and cultural fields.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) ahead of the HLCC meeting that will bring together President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Minister Novak highlighted that commercial and economic cooperation between Turkey and Russia has gradually recovered after a series of unfortunate events.
Pointing out that a significant number of agreements have been prepared ahead of the HLCC meeting, Novak said the meetings will cover technical and cultural fields as well as the economy and commerce.
Announcing that a medium-term commercial, economic, scientific and cultural cooperation program, covering 2017-2020, will be signed between the two countries, Novak said, "Another critical agreement to be signed at the meeting will be a protocol on the establishment of a joint investment fund, between the Russian Investment Fund and the Turkey Sovereign Wealth Fund."
"We have a very good level of communication with the HLCC co-president and our valuable colleague Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, in terms of increasing business cooperation in all fields," Novak said, suggesting that the decline in trade between the two countries should be improved in a way that will benefit all parties.
He also said 2019 will be declared as a year of mutual culture and tourism, with an agreement to be signed between the Turkish and Russian Ministries of Culture and Tourism at the meeting. The minister also informed that a series of other agreements will be also signed and suggested that projects aiming to remove the obstacles in bilateral trade in agriculture and industry were also in progress.
TurkStream natural gas pipeline project
Underlining that the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project has progressed according to the determined schedule, Novak said, "We would like to thank our Turkish partners in this regard. The legal basis required for the construction of the first line is fully established. AllSeas, a Swiss company, with which we had an agreement regarding the construction of the second line, will use the world's most modern equipment in the laying of the pipeline."
Novak said the first line will enter service by the end of 2019, adding that there were ongoing discussions over the schedule and the route of the second line that will reach the border between Turkey and Greece.
"With Greek DEPA and Italian Edison companies, we are analyzing the issue of natural gas delivery to Italy through the Poseidon pipeline. We know that countries in Southeast Europe, such as Hungary and Serbia, are also interested in this project," he said.
He added that if there were guarantees of purchase, volume and schedule for the natural gas, the decision to build the second line will be taken promptly, within the scope of the agreement between Turkey and Russia.
Referring to Gazprom's announcement that they will increase prices of natural gas sent to Europe this year, Novak said natural gas prices are determined in line with agreements signed between companies, and the figures are often priced in accordance with a basket of petroleum products.
"The stability we have seen in the oil prices towards the end of last year will be followed by natural gas prices," Novak said.
Russian companies to evaluate upstream survey results
The Russian Energy minister also noted that Russia leans towards cooperating with Turkey in the exploration and production of energy resources, adding that if suitable projects emerge in the field of upstream (production and exploration) with Turkey, Russian companies will evaluate it carefully.
Expressing his gratitude towards Turkey for the positive communication it has maintained with Russia within the framework of the project, Novak said, "We expect the project to be granted the status of strategic investment so that it attracts more investors. We would like to include Turkish investors in the project in compliance with intergovernmental agreements."
Indicating that Turkey's natural gas transmission system is in good condition, Novak added that the ongoing investments in underground natural gas storage capacity have increased Turkey's mobility in fluctuations experienced in natural gas consumption.