Türkiye prepares to realize long-standing aim to operate as gas hub


Türkiye is accelerating its steps to realize the target of becoming a trading hub, being home to seven international natural gas pipelines, four liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities and floating storage regasification units (FSRU) and with the advantage of having the only regional organized natural gas market under the country’s energy exchange market — Energy Exchange Istanbul (EXIST).

Türkiye will finalize its roadmap by the end of the year in a bid to realize this long-standing aim, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Fatih Donmez, said last week.

The country’s extensive natural gas infrastructure supports not only domestic energy security but also European energy security.

One of the ways of Russian gas reaching Europe is through the dual TurkStream natural gas pipeline. With a total capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters (bcm), each line has an annual capacity of 15.75 bcm. The first delivers gas to Türkiye and the other to Europe.

The pipeline, originating on the Russian coast, runs 930 kilometers through the Black Sea and reaches ashore in the Thrace region of Türkiye.

The Blue Stream, a major trans-Black Sea gas pipeline that has the capacity to carry 16 bcm of natural gas per year from Russia to Türkiye is also part of the infrastructure that could contribute to Turkiye acquiring its hub status.

The Russian Federation-Türkiye Natural Gas Main Transmission Line, currently without any flows, and which runs 845 kilometers from Malkoclar on the Bulgarian border to its final destination in Ankara offers the potential to open the door to Europe.

Domestic gas production and potential fields in region

As one of the key projects of the past few years, the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) transports natural gas from the Shah Deniz-II field in the Caspian Sea as well as from other fields in the southern part of the Caspian Sea to Türkiye and onto Europe by connecting to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline on the Turkish-Greek border.

TANAP, starting at the Georgian-Turkish border, travels 1,811 kilometers through 20 provinces to deliver 6 bcm of gas annually to Türkiye and 10 bcm to Europe.

The pipeline has been designed to deliver 31 bcm, and work is now continuing for raising that capacity to the highest possible level.

Türkiye is also home to the Baku-Tiflis-Erzurum pipeline. However, the contract for gas transmission via this pipeline terminated last year. Nonetheless, the pipeline could be reopened to cater for extra volumes from Azerbaijan to Türkiye.

The East Anatolian Natural Gas Main Transmission Line is a 1,491 kilometer-long pipeline with a capacity to transfer 10 billion cubic meters annually.

The Türkiye-Greece Natural Gas Pipeline, which started operations in 2007, enables natural gas transportation from Türkiye to Greece.

Alongside international natural gas projects contributing to the region’s energy security, Türkiye will start production from the newly discovered gas find at the Sakarya Gas Field in the Black Sea in the first quarter of 2023.

In the Sakarya field, one of the nation’s drill ships, Fatih, found 540 billion cubic meters of natural gas, and drilling in the Black Sea region is still proceeding.

Türkiye could also act as a conduit between neighboring suppliers from the East Mediterranean, Turkmenistan and Iraq to gain access to the European market in the coming years.

Third FSRU facility under construction

Türkiye has been shielded to an extent from the worst impacts of the global energy crisis through its LNG and FSRU facilities that has enabled flexibility in natural gas supplies.

The country’s first FRSU facility, based in Izmir and operated by Etki Liman, has the capacity to provide 20 million cubic meters of natural gas per day to the country’s gas grid.

The Ertugrul Gazi FSRU, with a capacity of 170,000 cubic meters and an annual regasification capacity of 2.5 billion cubic meters, is one of the latest of the country’s projects contributing to energy security through its provision of 28 million cubic meters of gas daily to the country’s system.

The Marmara Ereglisi FSRU located in the Thrace region could send up to 37 million cubic meters of gas per day through its three tankers, each comprising 85,000 cubic meters of storage capacity.

Construction is ongoing for the Saros FSRU facility, which is considered key for supply security in the Marmara region.

20% of annual gas demand in storage

Gas storage is playing an increasing role in energy security with the expansion of facilities.

The country’s first gas storage, the Silivri Underground Natural Gas Facility, now has now 4.6 billion cubic meters of storage capacity per year.

The Salt Lake Underground Natural Gas Facility, located in the Central Anatolian province of Aksaray, is currently storing 1.2 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year.

Plans are afoot to expand capacity to 5.4 billion cubic meters by 2023.

With the capacity increase in the Salt Lake facility, both underground storage facilities combined will enable the supply of 20% of the country’s annual gas demand.

Türkiye’s natural gas demand last year hit 60 billion cubic meters.

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