Turkey's energy import bill in 2017 increased by nearly 37 percent compared to 2016, according to Turkish Statistical Institute's (Turkstat) data Wednesday.
Turkstat's annual data for 2017 showed that the country paid $37.19 billion for its energy imports last year compared to $27.16 billion in 2016.
Turkey's total import bill in 2017 also showed a 17.7 percent increase and amounted to $233.79 billion, out of which energy accounted for 15.9 percent.
Volkan Ozdemir, head of the Institute for Energy Markets and Policies (EPPEN), told Anadolu Agency that the increase in Turkey's energy import bill was expected and is a result of the rise in oil prices and natural gas consumption in 2017.
"Oil prices have increased at a considerable extent in 2017, especially in the last quarter of the year. Prices tested the levels of $70 per barrel in that period," Ozdemir said, adding that in comparison, the average oil price in 2016 was around $44 per barrel.
"Considering that oil prices were around $55-$60 per barrel in 2017 and that Turkey is a total importer of oil and gas, it is normal to see this increase in the energy bill," he said.
Ozdemir added that along with the oil price hike in 2017, rising natural gas consumption in the country also negatively affected the energy import bill.
"The difference in 2017 from the previous years is that 2017 has seen the largest increase in terms of natural gas consumption in the last three years," he said, adding that Turkey's gas consumption increased by as much as 10 percent in 2017 year-on-year.
As natural gas prices are reflected in the energy bill in the following six months, Ozdemir said he expects a higher bill for 2018.
"Our expectation for 2018 and the following years is that Turkey's energy import bill is going to be above $40 billion and up. We do not expect a bill that is below $40 billion for the years ahead," he concluded.
Turkey consumed nearly 46.4 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2016, according to the Energy Market Regulatory Authority's (EMRA) yearly Natural Gas Market Sector Report.
Russia holds a 52.94 percent share in Turkey's natural gas imports, followed by Iran with 16.62 percent, Azerbaijan with 13.98 percent, Algeria with 9.24 percent and Nigeria with 2.63 percent.
By Ebru Sengul