ISTANBUL, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Turkey has signed an additional trade agreement for 11 billion cubic meters of natural gas with Azerbaijan, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez announced on Friday.
Donmez said in a statement that the gas would be transferred from the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (BTE) pipeline, also known as the South Caucasus Pipeline, until the end of 2024.
"At a time when the world is struggling with energy bottlenecks and resorting to all kinds of diplomatic maneuvers to find out where to obtain gas, Turkey has made significant progress in providing additional natural gas supply," Donmez said.
The 692-km-long BTE pipeline, constructed in 2006, has been carrying natural gas from the Shah Deniz gas field situated in the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan to Turkey.
Turkey had four long-term import contracts in total expiring this year, which contain 16 billion cubic meters of annual supply.
The country has raised natural gas prices by 15 percent for industries and electricity generation plants for October.
The move has stirred debates that higher gas prices could aggravate the country's dependency on import, widen the current account deficit and push up the already high inflation rate.
According to press reports, Turkey's natural gas imports in the first half of 2021 have increased by 35 percent compared to the same period last year.
Meanwhile, the country's three drillships have been continuing their drilling and testing activities in the Black Sea.
The Fatih drillship has discovered a total of 540 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the region during the past year. Enditem