Turkey, with over three different gas supply sources and with access to at least one LNG terminal, is in a good position to cover the country’s gas demand for heating over the coming winter, according to a study from the ICIS, the world’s largest petrochemical market information provider.
The ICIS study named ‘Chilly or Snug?’ examined supply options and storage levels across key 17 countries in Europe.
The study was released at a time before the long-term gas transit contract between Russia’s Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz expires at the end of the year, raising concerns of potential supply shortages that could leave millions of European and Turkish consumers cold this winter.
However, the study found that Turkey, with diverse supplies of gas and access to LNG terminals, was placed in a ‘safe’ category, similar to the U.K., the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, France and Poland.
Romania and Bulgaria are considered a "risky" category given that these countries have access to more than three gas sources but have no LNG terminals.
Moldova was shown to be "very risky" due to the lack of more than three sources, no storage provision and a lack of access to LNG terminals, the three categories the study appraised.
- Natural gas storage
The ICIS evaluated the occupancy rates of the countries’ natural gas storage facilities.
In this category, the study categorized countries with storage occupancy rates of between 80% and 100% as top performers and they were given 5 full points.
Countries with LNG terminal access were given a top mark of 2.5.
The data showed that Moldova, which has not got any storage provision, also failed in this category and did not earn any points.
Turkey's storage for the winter was rated as 86% capacity, earning it a top score for storage provision as well as supplier diversity and LNG terminal access.
Poland and Romania followed with an 83% rating for gas storage capacity. Ukraine scored 64%, Greece was rated as 27%, and Bulgaria had 16%.
Austria, Belgium and Czechia reached a 100% storage occupancy rate while Belgium, France, Italy, Poland, Netherlands and the U.K. also received top marks in all three categories.
Ukraine, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Greece, Czechia, Bulgaria and Austria were the countries that did not receive full points echoing their vulnerability to gas shortage supplies over the winter.
-Turkey’s latest natural gas update
Turkey has four pipeline entry points and LNG re-gasification facilities in total.
On Oct. 7, Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez stated that Turkey had quadrupled its current LNG capacity compared to 2016.
"With the commissioning of our Saros Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) facility, we will be able to meet approximately half of the daily peak consumption from our LNG infrastructure," Donmez said.
To ensure energy security, Turkey is taking steps to expand the country's gas storage facilities.
The country has additional storage under construction at the Salt Lake (Tuz Golu) natural gas storage facility, located in central Anatolia. The facility already can store 600 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas and has another 600 mcm of capacity under construction with plans to reach 5.4 bcm by 2023-24.
Also, the gas storage facility, near the industrial heartland of Istanbul, in the Silivri province, has a capacity of 2.8 billion cubic meters (bcm) but targets a total gas storage capacity of 4.6 bcm by 2023.
When combined, the Tuz Golu and Silivri projects' target storage capacities, will total up to 10 bcm, equivalent to 20% of Turkey's annual consumption.
Turkey consumes around 50 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year. The country imports gas via pipelines from Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. Last year, Ankara imported 23.6 bcm of gas from Russia, 7.9 bcm from Iran and 7.5 from Azerbaijan. The rest, which is calculated as 22.5% came in the form of LNG.
Turkey's LNG imports reached a historic record high at 7.14 bcm in the first half of 2019, according to Turkey's Energy Market Regulatory Authority's (EMRA) data.
The share of LNG in natural gas imports surpassed 30% for the first time in the January-June period out of the total of 23.29 bcm of natural gas imports.
Ukraine makes around $3 billion annually for transmitting gas to EU countries based on the current contract with Russia.
However, the long-term gas transit contract between Ukraine and Russia for the Trans-Balkan pipeline expires on Dec. 31, 2019.
Kiev stopped importing natural gas directly from Russia in 2015 after Moscow sent troops into Crimea in 2014.
Ukraine gets Russian gas indirectly through reverse flows from neighboring EU countries, namely Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia.
By Murat Temizer