Turkey needs to focus on gas exploration and production in international projects from the second half of 2020, the Chair of the Institute for Energy Markets and Policies (EPPEN) Volkan Ozdemir said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a session entitled TurkStream's Role in Turkey's Energy Diversification at the Turkish-Russian Energy Experts Round Table meeting, Ozdemir said the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project is an important one in allowing Russia to transfer natural gas to the Balkans through Turkey for the first time.
The project's second line that will transfer gas to Europe represents a significant gain for Turkey's and Russia's bilateral relationship, Ozdemir stressed.
The TurkStream natural gas pipeline has a total capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters, out of which the first line will carry a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Turkish consumers. The second line will carry another 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe via Turkey.
The European route for the second line has not been officially announced yet, nonetheless, Ozdemir said Turkey can become a trading hub in the region with the right conditions.
"International projects comes after that," he said.
If Turkey is able to become a trade hub, it will open the country up to avail of important opportunities for trade in Turkish lira, he added.
According to Ozdemir, so far this has not been realized although there is great potential for such trade.
He advised that further steps be taken on natural gas exploration from now on. "It is important for Turkey to enter the Balkan markets through TurkStream."
"Turkey needs to focus on exploration, and aiming for the second half of 2020, it needs to try to start production after any discoveries," he said.
- Turkey's need to integrate with Europe for gas
The Chair of the Turkish Natural Gas Distributors Association (GAZBIR) Yasar Arslan also said that the Marmara region, where energy consumption is high, would gain access to a more stable and uninterrupted gas source with TurkStream gas.
Arslan stressed the importance of the construction of even a third or fourth line in the TurkStream project for the energy supply security of Europe and other regional countries.
"We are already integrated with Europe for electricity. If we do not achieve gas integration, it will be meaningless and shows that new expansion is required in the upcoming period with the TurkStream project," he said.
Arif Akturk, a board member of Esgaz & Izmir Natural Gas, highlighted the trust that Gazprom has in Turkey's gas market based on the absence of a gas contract for transfers via the first and second line of the TurkStream pipeline.
"This means that Gazprom trusts Turkey's market commercially while making this investment without any commercial agreement. This is also advantageous for Turkey. Some contracts will end in 2021. If we can create an unhindered and liquid market after 2021, it will be an advantage for both Turkey and our supplier Gazprom," he concluded.
Reporting by Nuran Erkul Kaya, Murat Temizer, Firdevs Yuksel
Writing by Ebru Sengul