Turkey already receives gas & oil through pipelines from Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Iraq and also delivers supplies to Europe
Ankara, April 13 - Neftegaz.RU. Turkey
should benefit more from local sources in meeting its energy needs, as well as securing stable supplies and increasing market predictability, Deputy Energy & Natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar said.
Bayraktar was speaking during a recent interview with Nikkei Asia.
The statements came as energy prices soar worldwide due to major oil & gas exporter Russia invading its neighbor Ukraine and the subsequent Western sanctions
Turkey is majorly dependent on imports to meet its energy needs, with Russia being a large source for years.
The country’s share in Turkey’s energy imports, despite posting a long decline, again rose in 2021, reversing its course.
Russia's share of the country’s gas imports was only 33% in 2019 and 2020, declining from more than 60% in 2005.
This was mainly because Ankara has diversified its sources, through a new gas pipeline from Azerbaijan – TANAP
, as well as weighing more on LNG supplies and investing in gas storage, regasification units and renewable energy.
Last year, however, when spot LNG prices rose, Russia’s gas
exports to Turkey rebounded to around 40%.
According to Bayraktar, a 20% to 25% share of imports from «one single country is more reasonable.»
The deputy minister said that nuclear power
– which is among Turkey's 2053 targets for achieving carbon neutrality – is another alternative to reduce the reliance on a single source.
Bayraktar said that plans have already been announced to build 12 large nuclear reactors at 3 sites, but the country needs more since these «will not be enough if we consider the 2050-70s.»
He said that Turkey is negotiating with China to build 4 large-scale nuclear reactors in the Thrace region of northwestern Turkey.
Bayraktar further commented on Turkey becoming a regional gas hub, stepping up gas research in the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean, as well as expanding capacity for renewables
Geographically attractive, Turkey is coming to the fore as an energy hub
once again in Europe’s search for alternatives to Russian gas as it connects gas-rich countries such as Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Israel, Iran and Iraq to Europe.
Bayraktar however added that «there is no immediate solution» to finding a substitute for Russian energy.
Even if such fresh supplies via pipelines are secured in the long term, he said, they will constitute only about 1/4 of the 155 billion m3
of Russian gas supplied annually to Europe.
Bayraktar said the SCG
, a route that brings supplies from the Caspian Sea to Europe and has been operational since 2020, would have large excess capacity if more compressors are added to the system.
With just a 550-km pipeline to Turkey's southern shores, Israel's offshore gas can be swapped with Europe once it reaches Turkish soil, he added.
Meanwhile, Turkey is also looking forward to adding its own gas discovered in the Black Sea
to the system.
The country’s 1st
drilling vessel, Fatih had discovered 540 bcm of gas in the Sakarya gas field in the Black Sea in August 2020.
The gas extracted from the field will be brought onshore through a pipeline that will be laid beneath the Black Sea.
Ankara aims to start pumping gas from the field to its main grid in 2023, with sustained plateau production starting in 2027 or 2028.
Bayraktar added that more offshore research in the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean is needed since the country
’s annual consumption is around 60 bcm.
Turkey ranks 5th
in Europe and 12th worldwide for installed capacity of solar & wind power, another source to reduce imports while achieving net-zero targets.