October 9, 2016 / 2:37 PM / a year ago

Russia, Turkey resume gas price talks - Russian energy minister

MOSCOW, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Moscow and Ankara have resumed talks on the price of Russian gas for Ankara, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview with Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper.

A gas price dispute between Turkish pipeline operator Botas and Russia’s state gas producer Gazprom led to Botas launching international arbitration proceedings against Gazprom in October 2015.

The row had led to talks on their joint Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project to be suspended earlier that year.

In November 2015, most contact between Russia and Turkey were halted after the downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkish military, although since then Moscow and Ankara have made significant progress towards restoring relations.

“Talks about gas price have resumed, I hope the sides will come to a common position,” Novak said, according to the text of the interview published on the Russian Energy Ministry’s website on Sunday.

Botas says it was promised a discount on the price of gas in February 2015 but that Moscow never signed off on the deal.

Novak said he expected the first hearing in the case to be held in 2017.

“It is possible that by then Russia’s Gazprom Export and Turkey’s Botas will be able to resolve their disagreements related to the price of gas,” Novak said.

Novak also told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency that an intergovernmental agreement on Turkish Stream was almost complete and would be finalised before the meeting of the presidents of Turkey and Russia in Istanbul this week.

Novak is due to attend the World Energy Congress in Istanbul this week, and plans to meet representatives of key OPEC producers and OPEC secretary general for informal talks on oil output. (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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