ANKARA - The move of a Russian consortium to reduce its offer for Turkey’s first nuclear plant came ahead of President Abdullah Gül’s official visit to Moscow. The consortium’s first offer was very high compared to world averages
Russia’s Atomstroyexport-led consortium, the sole bidder for Turkey’s first nuclear plant tender, renewed its offer at a 30 percent reduction in the price for electricity it will produce.
The move comes ahead of President Abdullah Gül's official visit to Moscow. Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said yesterday the two sides were nearing agreement on Russia winning the nuclear energy contract worth up to $20 billion.
Hacı Duran Gökkaya, general directorate of the Turkish Electricity Trading and Contracting Company, or TETAŞ, a state company that will assess the offer and report to the Cabinet, said the consortium’s was now offering 15.35 cents for one kilowatt per hour instead of 21.16 cents reported the Anatolia news agency. The consortium’s first offer was very high compared to world averages, which led to the revised price.
Energy issues touched briefly
Gül, who is on an official visit to Moscow, was expected to raise the issue during talks he held yesterday with the Russian prime minister. The energy issues were briefly touched upon during the press conference held by Gül and President Medvedev, as the latter said both countries had developed a common experience over the realization of energy projects. Medvedev said Russia wants to expand cooperation on electricity and nuclear energy, according to the report of the Anatolia News Agency.
The new offer by the Russian company was a good development and advantageous for the public, Gökkaya said. "The commission is evaluating the offer in terms of its legality and public interest," he said.
According to tender rules, bidders are not allowed to revise their offers but government officials argued that with only one bidder, there was an opportunity to bargain on the price.
After the commission’s conclusion of its assessment of the new offer, TETAŞ’s executive board will examine it and then send it to the Cabinet. If the offer is approved by the ministers, then the Energy Market Regulatory Authority, or EPDK, and the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority, or TAEK, will start the process of issuing the necessary licenses to the Russian-led consortium, Gökkaya said.
The consortium, which also includes Turkey's Park Teknik, was the sole bidder in the tender launched in September to build a 4,800-megawatt nuclear power plant at Akkuyu in the Mersin province on the Mediterranean coast.
"We expect our proposal will be forwarded from the tendering commission to the Turkish government in the near future," Shmatko told reporters, according to Russian news agencies.
"According to different estimates, such a project could be worth $18 billion to $20 billion," he said. Shmatko said Russia and Turkey were also discussing a long-term contract worth $60 billion over a period of 15 years to supply Russian electricity to Turkey.
Trade relations high on the agenda
Besides cooperation in the energy field, economic issues were also raised high on the agenda for Gül and Medvedev, who singed a joint declaration at the end of their meeting yesterday to deepen multi-dimentional cooperation and friendship. Gül said bilateral trade exceeded $30 billion, adding that there is a potential of reaching $40 billion to $50 billion if some of the problems are removed.
The Turkish side has been complaining about tougher inspection rules applied to Turkish trucks at Russian customs. Gül raised the issue with Medvedev asking for a solution. Medvedev repeated the Russian argument that the procedures are not only applied to Turkey but to all countries. Medvedev has however offered the establishment of a technical commission to discuss the issue.
The two leaders have also discussed regional issues including Turkey's offer to establish Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform.