Turkey Having Trouble Finding Alternatives To Russian Gas

With Russian-Turkish relations bottoming out after Turkey’s downing of a Russian military jet last November, Ankara is scrambling to reduce its dependency on Russian gas. But the help it needs from post-Soviet energy producers may not be swift in coming.

The Caspian Sea state of Azerbaijan, Turkey’s closest ally in the post-Soviet region, was the first place Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu [sic] visited after the November 24 downing incident. And most recently, Davuto?lu [sic] met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Davos on January 20.

“Two nations, one people” is a popular mantra that officials in both Turkey and Azerbaijan use to describe their relationship. And yet when it comes to energy, there seems to be limits to this unity.
For one, Azerbaijan is not the gas producer that Russia is. The 27 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Russian gas Turkey received in 2015 — 55 percent of its overall supply — is about 1.4 times the size of Azerbaijan’s entire volume of produced gas for that year, noted Ilham Shaban, director of the Baku-based Caspian Barrel, an energy research center.

Turkey currently receives 6 bcm of gas from Azerbaijan, an amount that constitutes about 75 percent of Baku’s annual exports, he added.

Some Turkish observers pin their hopes for energy diversification on TANAP (Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline), the Europe-bound, 1,850-kilometer-long pipeline from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field that will cross through Turkey. The two countries last month agreed to finish the conduit before 2018, its originally scheduled completion date, even though it is not yet known where all the gas to fill the new route will come from.

Although the first gas shipments to Turkey are expected by late 2018, large-scale shipments of 12 bcm per year will not come until 2021, said Shaban.

Turkey also has gotten the cold shoulder from Kyrgyzstan, which does not export energy, but does receive an undisclosed amount of Turkish development aid. At December’s Moscow summit of Commonwealth of Independent States members, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev criticized Ankara for the downing of the Russian plane and suggested that Erdo?an, whom he previously termed “my older brother,” should apologize to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Full article: Turkey Having Trouble Finding Alternatives To Russian Gas (OilPrice)

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