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Turkey Moves To Reduce Reliance On Russian Gas

Turkey is looking to reduce further its reliance on Russian gas, and for the first time in almost two decades, Turkey may not receive gas at all from Russian gas giant Gazprom for at least two weeks.

According to Turkish state-owned Botas, cited by Interfax, the Turkish Stream pipeline will stop completely on July 27. Botas is the purchaser of all gas through the pipeline, which started up this year in January.

The pipeline will remain down for a couple of weeks until mid-August due to repair work on the pipeline. But the Turkish Stream pipeline was stopped last month too for planned maintenance.

Another gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey, the Blue Stream, was also shuttered in May, and even though it was only supposed to be down for a couple of weeks, the pipeline is still shuttered today.

In the end, Turkey is taking 70% less gas from Russia compared to this time last year, pushing the gas giant down on the list of Turkey’s main gas suppliers, behind Azerbaijan and Iran. Turkey has also been substituting LNG for the Russian gas, now that LNG prices have fallen.

The Presidents of Russia and Turkey, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, respectively, officially launched in the beginning of January the TurkStream natural gas pipeline to ship Russian gas to Turkey and markets in southeastern Europe.

At the time, Gazprom said that the TurkStream pipeline would improve energy security in the region.

Critics of Russia’s energy policy, however, including the United States, the Baltic states, Poland, and several other EU countries, say that it is Moscow’s gas supply dominance that undermines Europe’s energy security.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on July 23 2020 said:
    Turkey may reduce its dependence on Russian gas as it is currently getting more of its needs cheaper from Azerbaijan through the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC). It may also try to curry favour with the United States by substituting US LNG for the Russian gas now that LNG prices have fallen.

    However, if Turkey aspires to become the energy hub of the European Union (EU), it has no alternative but to accept Russian gas shipments through the Turk Stream pipeline that will bring Russian gas shipments under the Black Sea to the EU via Turkey.

    And while the SGC could at best raise its projected supplies to the EU from the initial 10 billion cubic metres annually (bcm/y) to 20 bcm/y in coming years, it is a fraction of Russian supplies amounting currently to 224 bcm annually or almost 40% of total EU demand and on the rise. And to add salt to injury, the SGC will end up transmitting Russian gas brought to Turkey through the Turkish Stream since gas production from Azerbaijan couldn’t even fill the transport capacity of the SGC to make it cost-effective. For Russia, it is a win-win situation.

    Moreover, Turkey’s involvement in Libya is partly explained by wanting to gain some influence over Libya’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) along with its own EEZ to block the construction of the Eastmid gas pipeline which is planned to carry Israeli and Cypriot natural gas to the EU via Greece on the basis that it could undermine its aspiration to become the gas hub of the EU.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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