Turkey is seeking to buy an additional 6bn cubic metres (bcm) of liquefied natural gas, including some from Qatar, under long-term contracts to meet its growing energy needs, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said.
Talks with Qatar on the purchase have begun, but the world’s biggest LNG producer may not provide all of the additional fuel, Yildiz told reporters late on Tuesday. Turkey could also buy from the US if it is willing to sell. Turkey wants to procure the LNG by 2015, he said.
The country of 75mn people is heavily dependent on imported energy and is seeking to diversify supplies as demand grows. It is set to overtake Britain as Europe’s third-biggest electricity consumer within a decade. Turkey buys natural gas from Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan and LNG from Nigeria and Algeria under long-term contracts. It currently has no long-term contracts with Qatar, which mainly sells to Asian markets. Turkey has asked Qatar to help build an LNG import plant on the Gulf of Saros, an inlet in European Turkey, which would have an annual capacity of 5bn-6bn bcm.
US Republican Senator Richard Lugar said last month that Congress should give NATO allies access to burgeoning US natural gas supplies to help reduce their dependence on natural gas from Russia and help wean Turkey off Iranian purchases. US domestic production has boomed, leading to a glut. But domestic manufacturers argue opening up exports would raise their gas prices, and have attracted some strong supporters for their cause in Congress. Turkey’s daily gas demand was about 125mn cu m in late 2012 and is likely to rise to nearly 220mn during the harsh winter months, energy ministry officials say.
Turkey turns to coal to loosen Iran, Russia reliance
Turkey is turning to its own coal, worried about dependence on pricier gas from Iran and Russia, after a deal with a UAE company which will boost its coal-fired power capacity by two thirds.
Its biggest gas supplier is Russia’s Gazprom, which accounts for around half of imports, but it is long-term supply from Iran that could pose the biggest concerns. Turkey might not be able to continue to ignore further tightening of international sanctions aimed at curtailing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme.
Gas imports have also been disrupted as a result of attacks on Iranian and Azeri import pipelines by Kurdish separatists.
“In public, Turkey has tried to show it won’t bow to US pressure, but even if it can still buy Iranian gas, it’s unlikely to be able to increase imports from a country that is subject to strict embargoes,” said Alex Jackson, an analyst with political risk consultants Menas Associates.
Iran supplies around 16% of Turkey’s gas needs, followed by 15% from Azerbaijan, according to International Energy Agency (IEA) figures.
Ankara has signed a $12bn deal with Abu Dhabi’s TAQA to mine lignite coal and build up to 8,000 MW of new power plants by 2020.
“The TAQA deal is first and foremost motivated by the need to refurbish and build new coal-fired power plants, but the move to develop coal stems from a general concern that Turkey is hugely dependent on others for its energy needs,” said Andrew Neff, a senior analyst with IHS Energy.
The European Association for Coal and Lignite (Euracoal) says that Turkey imports over 70% of its primary energy needs. Most of its 30mn tonnes annual hard-coal use is supplied by Russia, Colombia, the US and South Africa, according to Euracoal.
Natural gas imports, mainly from Russia, Iran, and Azerbaijan, meet around 45% of Turkey’s demand for heat and power, according to the IEA.
Source: Caye Global News, Gulf Times/Reuters.
The Energy Books by Dr. Theodore, now available on these stores:
THE SECRET WORLD OF ENERGY – Oil, Gas & Petrochemicals…
Oil – Gas Exploration & Drilling…