UPDATE 1-Turkey seeks additional 6 bcm of LNG, partly from Qatar

Orhan Coskun
Reuters Middle East

* Talks with Qatar have begun

* Turkey seeking to diversify gas supplies

* Ready to buy from U.S. if Washington will sell

ANKARA, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Turkey is seeking to buy an

additional 6 billion cubic metres (bcm) of liquefied natural

gas, including some from Qatar, under long-term contracts to

meet its growing energy needs, Turkish Energy Minister Taner

Yildiz said.

Talks with Qatar on the purchase have begun, but the world's

biggest LNG producer may not provide all of the additional fuel,

Yildiz told reporters late on Tuesday. Turkey could also buy

from the United States if it is willing to sell.

Turkey wants to procure the LNG by 2015, he said.

The country of 75 million people is heavily dependent on

imported energy and is seeking to diversify supplies as demand

grows. It is set to overtake Britain as Europe's third-biggest

electricity consumer within a decade.

Turkey buys natural gas from Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan and

LNG from Nigeria and Algeria under long-term contracts. It

currently has no long-term contracts with Qatar, which mainly

sells to Asian markets.

Turkey has asked Qatar to help build an LNG import plant on

the Gulf of Saros, an inlet in European Turkey, which would have

an annual capacity of 5-6 billion bcm.

U.S. Republican Senator Richard Lugar said last month that

Congress should give NATO allies access to burgeoning U.S.

natural gas supplies to help reduce their dependence on natural

gas from Russia and help wean Turkey off Iranian purchases.

U.S. domestic production has boomed, leading to a glut. But

domestic manufacturers argue opening up exports would raise

their gas prices, and have attracted some strong supporters for

their cause in Congress.

Turkey's daily gas demand was about 125 million cubic metres

in late 2012 and is likely to rise to nearly 220 million during

the harsh winter months, energy ministry officials say.

(Writing by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Nick Tattersall and

Erica Billingham)

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