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    Turkish Gas Imports Rise Strongly in 2017


Turkey strongly increased gas imports last year, especially of LNG, and has recently resumed paying for Iranian gas.

by: Dalga Khatinoglu

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Turkish Gas Imports Rise Strongly in 2017

Turkey strongly increased gas imports last year, especially of LNG, and has recently resumed paying for Iranian gas.

Gas imports increased by 19% year on year to 55.2bn m3 in 2017, the Turkish energy regulator EPDK reported Feb.22. This included a significant increase in LNG imports, up 37% at 10.8bn m3. Imports via pipeline were 15% higher at 44.4bn m3 and increased from all three sources. Leading supplier Russia stepped up deliveries by 17% to 28.6bn m3, while imports from Iran were 20% higher at 9.3bn m3 and those from Azerbaijan were up 1% at 6.5bn m3.

Turkey consumed 53.5bn m3 gas in 2017, 16% more than in the previous year. This is higher than total imports because of some indigenous production. Turkey also re-exports a small amount of gas to Greece.

Turkish Statistical Institute (Turkstat) also said that the country’s total energy imports bill, including gas, stood at $37.19bn in 2017, up 37% year on year. Its chief Volkan Ozdemir told Turkish state news agency Anadolu that the rise in oil and gas prices, as well as growth in gas consumption, increased Turkey’s energy import bill – which he said is expected to reach $40bn in 2018. Ozdemir didn’t however say whether the energy imports bill included Iranian gas import or not.

Turkey had filed a complaint against Iran at the International Court of Arbitration for overpricing on gas supplies during the four-year period 2011-2015. The arbitration court ordered Iran in 2016 to cut its gas price by 13.3% and return $1.9bn to Turkey for its 2011-15 overcharging. Iran instead agreed to pay off the debt by not charging for gas exports to Turkey since January 2017. Early February 2018, Iran said that all its debt had been cleared and that Turkey had started paying for Iran gas imports again.

NGW reported February 22 that Turkish state Botas had secured a new 30-year licence allowing it to continue importing spot LNG, replacing its existing ten-year licence.

Earlier this month Turkey started up its second floating LNG import terminal (FSRU). This is Turkey's fourth LNG terminal, two being land-based, with now two FSRUs. Turkey's first FSRU project launched in late 2016.  Botas operates the older land-based terminal and now also this newer FSRU. Last year's increase in gas consumption and imports came despite recent government remarks appearing to back the use of domestically-produced coal in the economy, in a bid to stem the rising energy import bill.