Turkey's natural gas imports increased by 47.8% in March this year compared to the same month of 2020, according to the Turkish energy watchdog's data on Friday.
Natural gas imports increased to around 5.82 billion cubic meters (bcm) from approximately 3.94 bcm for the same month of 2020, Turkey's Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA) said in its monthly natural gas market report.
In March 2021, the country imported 4.50 bcm of natural gas via pipelines, while 1.30 bcm was purchased as LNG, EMRA's data showed. This marked an increase in pipeline gas imports of 140.8% while LNG imports fell by 36.2%.
Russia was Turkey's top gas import destination, supplying 2.58 bcm of natural gas while Azerbaijan and Iran followed with 1.07 bcm and 850 million cubic meters (mcm), respectively.
Turkey's gas imports from Russia and Azerbaijan grew by 563% and 16% in March, respectively, while imports from Iran rose by 52.4% compared to the same period of 2020.
Turkey's total gas consumption also increased by 42.3% to approximately 6.54 bcm from around 4.6 bcm in March 2020.
Household consumption increased by 43.3% to 2.83 bcm, while the use of gas in power plants increased by 248% to 1.36 bcm during the same period.
Consumption growth in natural gas power plants, which generated more electricity due to drought and lower hydro capacity over the last few months, continues to boost imports.
The huge increase in gas consumption and imports in March this year compared to March last year reflects the slowdown from the first reported COVID-19 cases in Turkey in March last year when the country announced a country-wide lockdown which slowed down economic activity.
The amount of natural gas in storage in March 2021 increased by 14.1% to around 1.80 bcm compared to about 1.58 bcm in March 2020.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya