More countries may soon seek natural gas deals with Türkiye which has already signed natural gas export deals with Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Romania, officials and representatives of the energy industry have said.
Türkiye aims to become an energy hub in its region, betting on the advantages it has stemming from its geographical location and well-developed natural gas infrastructure.
Türkiye offers the only safe and commercially advantageous route, especially for Western countries looking for an alternative to Russian natural gas and those with energy and natural gas resources.
Europe seeks to reduce its reliance on Russian gas amid the war in Ukraine, say officials in Ankara. Their long-term target is to a production-consumption balance based on renewable energy, but in the short-run the only solution is to find alternative sources,they noted.
Europe gets natural gas from Russia, Türkiye with the TANAP pipeline, Libya, Algeria and Norway.
Türkiye stands out as a strong alternative even though there are other options for securing gas supplies, according to the officials.
Geographically, Türkiye is on the most advantageous route between countries with energy resources and Europe, they said, adding that its well-developed infrastructure and the LNG terminals it recently put in to use, make Türkiye more attractive.
Türkiye has the most advanced transmission and storage facilities in the region. It is expected to increase its storage capacity soon to 10 billion cubic meters. It also has three FSRUs (floating storage regasification units).
All of this is important for countries looking for an alternative, they said.
Officials recalled that Türkiye already agreed deals with Bulgaria, Hungary and recently with Romania, and said that more countries, including Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, are likely to “knock on Türkiye’s door for natural gas agreements.”
Here Israel, which also wants to offer an alternative, enters the picture.
Türkiye and Israel will start works for cooperating in the field of energy,including joint drilling and energy transmission lines, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced last month.
This cooperation is crucial for Israel, officials said.
Israel wants to sell its natural gas to Europe and Türkiye appears to be the most advantageous route to transmit the Israeli gas to the continent, they argued.
However, Türkiye needs to do more to become the center of energy trade, such as the establishment of an energy exchange and regulations complying with international rules according to people from the industry.
International gas trading companies are already making preparations to open offices in the country and the interest in Türkiye is only growing, they said.