October 17, 2013 / 9:01 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Turkey to import at least 5 mln T Iran oil in 2014 - energy minister

* Turkey now importing 5 mln tonnes/yr Iran oil -Turkish energy minister

* Also importing 10 bcm gas from Iran, would import more if available

* Would also increase Iraqi gas imports if output raised (Adds more quotes and details on Turkey energy and import needs)

By Meeyoung Cho and Jane Chung

DAEGU, South Korea, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Turkey will take at least the same 5 million tonnes (100,000 barrel per day) of Iranian crude in 2014 that it is taking this year, as any more cuts in the volumes from Iran would “threaten” its economy, the Turkish energy minister said on Thursday.

Turkey is also importing 10 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year from Iran and would buy more if it was available, Taner Yildiz said in a briefing during the World Energy Congress in South Korea.

The European Union and the United States believe Iran is developing nuclear weapons, while Tehran says its programme is for power generation. Western sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme have cut its oil exports in half from pre-2012 levels and cost it billions of dollars a month in lost revenue.

“Now we are importing about 5 million tonnes and if we (reduce more) than that, then that would threaten our energy supply security,” said Yildiz.

Turkey’s energy demand doubled in the last ten years and will double again in the next ten, he said.

Turkey is also ready to take more Iraqi gas to help meet its energy needs if Iraq increases its gas output, he said.

The United States in June renewed six-month waivers on Iran sanctions for Turkey and eight other economies in exchange for their agreeing to reduce purchases of oil from Iran.

This week six world powers and Iran held two days of nuclear negotiations that the United States described as the most serious and candid to date. Western diplomats said Tehran hinted it was ready to scale back sensitive atomic activities to secure urgent sanctions relief.

Asked if there will be any delay in Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, the minister said there would be none, as additional upgrading for safety has been completed.

He added that a planned second plant on the Black Sea also could be built as scheduled for start-up in 2023.

Earlier this month a source close to Turkey’s nuclear plans said the first plant, being built by Russia’s Rosatom, is likely to be delayed by at least a year due to bureaucratic hurdles that hamper the $20 billion, 4,800 megawatt project.

Turkey will host the next World Energy Congress meeting in 2016. (Reporting by Meeyoung Cho and Jane Chung; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Tom Hogue)

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