Turkey needs to re­duce gas de­pen­dence from Rus­sia

Azer News - - Front Page - By Fatma Babayeva

Af­ter the re­la­tions be­tween Turkey and Rus­sia wors­ened due to the in­ci­dent with Rus­sian SU-24 bomber in 2015, some say Turkey needs to de­crease its re­liance on Rus­sian gas and di­ver­sify fur­ther gas sup­ply routes.

Af­ter the re­la­tions be­tween Turkey and Rus­sia wors­ened due to the in­ci­dent with Rus­sian SU-24 bomber in 2015, some say Turkey needs to de­crease its re­liance on Rus­sian gas and di­ver­sify fur­ther gas sup­ply routes.

Turkey needs to re­duce its en­ergy de­pen­dence from Rus­sia via gas sup­plies from al­ter­na­tive sources, Ke­nan Yavuz, for­mer head of SOCAR Turkey En­ergy and cur­rent board chair­man of Turk­ish Caspian Strat­egy Re­search In­sti­tute told TRT news chan­nel on June 20.

He noted that the con­struc­tion of the Trans-Ana­to­lian Pipeline (TANAP) may partly fa­cil­i­tate this.

The men­tioned TANAP pipeline is the Turk­ish leg of the South­ern Gas Cor­ri­dor and en­vis­ages trans­port­ing gas from Shah Deniz Phase 2 lo­cated in the Azer­bai­jani sec­tion of the Caspian Sea to Turkey (6 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters per year) and then to Europe (ini­tially 10 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters per year) via con­nec­tion to Trans-Adri­atic Pipeline (TAP).

This pipeline stretches from Turkey’s bor­der with Ge­or­gia to the Greek bor­der of the coun­try.

Yavuz fur­ther em­pha­sized the great sig­nif­i­cance of TANAP pipeline not only for Turkey but for the whole re­gion and added that Is­raeli gas will be use­ful on the mat­ter to Turkey as well.

Rus­sia is the big­gest sup­plier of the nat­u­ral gas to Turkey via Blue Stream and Trans-Balkan pipe­lines.

BP’s es­ti­mates show that Turkey im­ported 39.7 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters of nat­u­ral gas via pipe­lines in 2015. Some 5.3 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters out of this vol­ume was pur­chased from Azer­bai­jan (via the South Cau­ca­sus Pipeline or Baku-Tbilisi-Erzu­rum) 26.6 bil­lion from Rus­sia and 7.8 bil­lion from Iran.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Turkey im­ported 7.5 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters of LNG last year. Most part of this vol­ume (3.8 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters) was bought from Al­ge­ria. The re­main­ing part was im­ported from Qatar (1.7 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters) and Nige­ria (1.5 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters).

Turkey is the sec­ond largest im­porter of the Rus­sian gas af­ter Ger­many.

Turkey’s pur­chase of Rus­sian gas brings about $9 bil­lion to Rus­sian bud­get an­nu­ally, To­grul Is­mayil po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of the Depart­ment of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions at the Ankara-based TOBB Univer­sity of Eco­nomics and Tech­nol­ogy told Trend on June 20.

He thinks that warm­ing of re­la­tions be­tween Rus­sia and Turkey de­pends on the Rus­sian side.

“Turkey ini­tially didn’t in­tro­duce any sanc­tions against Rus­sia, de­spite the fact that Moscow vi­o­lated the air borders of Ankara,” noted the ex­pert adding that Rus­sia, on the con­trary, be­gan to in­tro­duce sanc­tions against Turkey that caused dam­age to or­di­nary cit­i­zens.

In re­gards to the Turk­ish Stream - the sus­pended pipeline which pre­vi­ously en­vis­aged car­ry­ing Rus­sian gas via Bul­garia to south­ern and cen­tral Europe, Is­mayil stressed that Turkey will not spec­u­late on this project for the sake of im­prov­ing re­la­tions with Rus­sia.

The Turk­ish Stream project has geopo­lit­i­cal im­por­tance for Rus­sia as well, he said, adding that Turkey will pro­ceed from its eco­nomic in­ter­ests in this is­sue.

Although, ex­perts sug­gest that Turkey needs to re­duce de­pen­dence on Rus­sian gas, the gov­ern­ment strives not to re­duce but to bring back pre­vi­ous vol­umes of trade be­tween two coun­tries.

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