Turkey, Russia's second largest energy importer, may not extend a 25-years old gas deal and let private companies tender for the gas, if gas giant Gazprom does not cut prices, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz was quoted by Bugun daily as saying on Thursday.
"If Russia sends an answer which will satisfy us, we will assess it. If there is no such answer, we, as a state, we not be able to prolong it and give it away to the private sector which will hold tenders," Yildiz said.
Russia supplies gas to Turkey through Ukraine, Bulgaria and Rumania and directly via the Blue Stream pipeline on the Black Sea bed. In 2010, it supplied 18 billion cubic meters to Ankara.
The move is in line with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan' energy policy of putting import contracts in private hands as Turkey is seeking to become a key transit hub for Europe.
The dispute with Turkey arises amid the European Commission's checks in Gazprom's units in Europe on suspicion of EU antimonopoly law violations.
Gazprom's prices on long-term gas supply contracts have long been subject of heated debates with German partners E.ON, RWE, which call for a spot price mechanism to obtain cheaper gas.
In July, Gazprom made concessions Italy's Edison S.p.A, which was the first to file a suit against Gazprom, but dropped it after the agreement had been reached.