The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), which forms the backbone of the Southern Gas Corridor, is the epitome of Turkey and Azerbaijan's cooperation, said Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatıh Donmez on Thursday.
Turkey has received 9.4 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas through the TANAP as of Thursday, Donmez said at the 7th Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council meeting via video conference in Ankara.
The Southern Gas Corridor includes the South Caucasus Pipeline, TANAP and the Trans Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP).
"It is worth mentioning that without the political support of Turkey and Azerbaijan; the Southern Gas Corridor concept wouldn’t have turned into reality," Donmez said, adding that regional political efforts and support for the pipeline development from Azerbaijan to Europe were crucial for its completion, which benefitted the entire region.
Donmez reiterated that 2018 witnessed the timely completion of TANAP, while 2020 saw the completion of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) in November. Accordingly, the first commercial gas delivery to Europe began on the last day of 2020, which was a further step towards enhancing the security of supply for both Turkey and Europe.
Donmez affirmed the importance of natural gas in providing flexibility to the energy infrastructure at a time when the world is undertaking an energy transition to greater renewables deployment amid the threat of climate change.
"The realization of the Southern Gas Corridor and the flow of commercial gas to Europe is a particularly important step to this end. To increase the volume of gas through the pipeline, we need additional reserves and additional resource countries," he said.
To enhance energy security in the region, Donmez said that Turkey welcomes the agreement between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan for the joint exploration and development of the hydrocarbon field named “Dostluk” in the Caspian Sea.
"We wish that this agreement will further strengthen the friendship between the two countries. We also wish this agreement will pave the way for projects to deliver Turkmenistan natural gas to Turkey and to the rest of Europe. Turkey is ready to provide all political, technical and economic support to both Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan," he added.
TAP began the transport of commercial gas from Azerbaijan to Europe on Dec. 31 last year. It connects with the 878-kilometer-long TANAP at the Turkish-Greek border in Kipoi, crosses Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Southern Italy.
Inaugurated in 2019, TANAP has a capacity of 16 bcm to deliver 6 bcm to Turkey. Another 10 bcm to Europe can be offset for delivery via TAP.
- Third FSRU facility to be operational this year
With Turkey's goal to enhance supply security in natural gas through infrastructure projects over the last few years, Donmez said Turkey has increased the capacity of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in the country.
"We have made two Floating Storage Regasification Units (FSRU) operational and nearly doubled the capacity of our current LNG terminals. During this period, our gas transmission capacity was enhanced significantly and we increased our gas storage capacity to 4.1 bcm, and is planned to reach 11 bcm by 2023. Moreover, the third FSRU facility will also be operational this year to provide further flexibility to our gas infrastructure," he said.
He also stressed that a natural gas futures market, which he said will make a significant contribution to trading activities, will be opened this year within the Istanbul Energy Exchange.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu