MADRID, April 18 (Reuters) - Spain's Energy Minister Teresa Ribera said on Thursday that it was still to early for the government to evaluate a potential stake in Spanish energy firm Naturgy in view of a possible takeover bid by Abu Dhabi's TAQA.

TAQA confirmed on Wednesday it is in discussions with the three largest shareholders of Naturgy which could lead to a possible full takeover bid for the largest natural gas firm in Spain.

As such, the government will have a say on any acquisition.

Naturgy and has key contracts with Algeria and also a long-term contract to import some 3 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Russian liquefied natural gas every year.

"We will have to see if it makes sense or not to have a participation of the state in this company," Ribera said. "But I think it is premature to consider it. For now, what is needed is vigilant prudence."

Last December, the government decided to buy a stake of up to 10% in Telefonica as a counterbalance to the acquisition of a stake in the telecoms operator by Saudi Arabia's STC. It has already acquired a 5% holding.

Ribera said the government was waiting for more information on the talks involving the company's main shareholders and TAQA, adding that it was important to make sure Naturgy "does not have any kind of problem in its management".

(Reporting by Pietro Lombardi, editing by Andrei Khalip)