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    Turkish Imports Rise, Despite Milder February


Turkish gas imports rose in February despite warm weather, thanks to ample spot LNG imports, enabling stocks to be slightly increased.

by: David O'Byrne

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Turkish Imports Rise, Despite Milder February

Turkey imported 5.404bn m3 of natural gas in February, 13.1% down on the 6.217bn m3 imported this January and 2.9% up on February 2017, Turkish energy regulator EPDK reported April 30. 

The sharp fall on the previous month came as most of Turkey enjoyed a third month of unusually warm winter weather which reduced demand for heating and power generation, and saw Turkish underground gas stocks at 2.778 Bcm, fractionally up on the volume held at end-January, but 203% up on the 0.916bn m3 held a year earlier. Piped gas accounted for roughly 70% of imports, LNG the remaining 30%.

Overall gas consumption in February was 5.359bn m3, down 13.1% on January and down 5.2% on February 2017. That split out as 1.523bn m3 consumed by Turkey's power generation sector, almost unchanged from February 2017, with consumption by the residential and industrial sectors down by 7.37% and 7.78% respectively.

As usual, pipeline imports from Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan accounted for the bulk of imports: 3.744bn m3, or 69.3% of total imports, down 12% on January but unchanged on the year.

Imports from Russia totalled 2.522bn m3, down 10.8% on January, and up by 1% on the year while Iran supplied 0.685bn m3, down 18% on the month and 8.7% on February 2017, and Azerbaijan supplied 0.537bn m3, 9.6% less than in January but up 6.1% on the year.

Turkey's state Botas was responsible for all imports from Iran and Azerbaijan and for 1.563bn m3 imported from Russia. The remaining 0.959bn m3 of Russian gas was imported by six private companies that hold contracts with Gazprom.

Turkish LNG imports in February totalled 1.66bn m3, or 30.7% of total imports, and were down by 15.4% on January when Turkey recorded record LNG imports, but up 11% higher year-on-year, thanks to the extra import capacity provided by Turkey's second FSRU unit (the country's 4th LNG import terminal), commissioned December 2017, which started full operations in February 2018.

Botas was also responsible for all LNG imports during February importing 0.41bn m3 from Algeria and 0.408bn m3 from Nigeria, largely under long term contracts, and 0.191bn m3 as spot cargoes.

Overall spot imports were reported as 1.035bn m3, up 17.5% on the year - continuing the trend for Turkey to rely on low-priced spot cargoes for mid-winter peak shaving, but down 18% on the month due to the warm weather and high gas stocks. Spot LNG suppliers were reported as Qatar (0.391bn m3), USA (0.191bn m3), Trinidad (0.165bn m3) and re-exports from Spain (0.093bn m3).

The extent to which Turkey continues to rely on winter imports of spot LNG remains to be seen, as the country's pipeline system is expanded. In June, Turkey will commission the first stage of the TransAnatolian Pipeline (Tanap) which will supply Botas with an additional 2bn m3 over the following year rising to 4bn m3/yr in 2019-20 and peaking at 6bn m3/yr from 2021.

And in 2019, Gazprom's 15.75bn m3/yr TurkStream line is slated to begin operation, potentially replacing the existing 14bn m3/yr Transbalkan line - if Gazprom chooses to re-route flows to Turkey away from transit country Ukraine. TurkStream is expected to supply Botas with an additional 1.75bn m3/yr.