Turkey's natural gas imports from Russia were 27 billion cubic meters in 2015, a decrease of 320 million cubic meters compared to the previous year.
According to data from the Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom, Turkey's natural gas imports from Russia declined to 27.01 billion cubic meters in 2015, from 27.33 billion cubic meters in 2014. Russia's natural gas exports to countries other than the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) soared by 8.2 percent, reaching 158.6 billion cubic meters in 2015. Turkey was the second largest natural gas importer of Russian natural gas, after Germany. Analysts say the main reason for the increase in Russian natural gas exports to Europe is the decline in production within the EU and the widespread use of natural gas for the generation of electricity. Turkey imports approximately 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia on an annual basis through the Western line which passes through Ukraine and the Blue Stream pipeline which runs through the Black Sea.
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak announced an updated road map for the energy sector this month. According to the roadmap, priority will be given to local resources and the share of renewable energy resources allocated to the energy supply will be increased. The variation of suppliers of crude oil and natural gas will be increased and the risks associated with imports will be lowered. The share of electricity production using natural gas will be less than 38 percent of total production by the end of 2019.
Previous negotiations made between representatives of Russian energy giant Gazprom and Turkish energy firms fell through last month, with efforts to reach an agreement regarding the continuation of a 2015 price discount proving unsuccessful. These talks are still in progress, according to a report from Anadolu Agency (AA) on Friday, in correlation with information received from Gazprom sources.
AA reported that six private Turkish companies have said they would no longer be able to utilize the 10.25 percent discount, according to notifications they received from Gazprom. The price discount applied to the companies had been in effect since Jan. 1 of last year.
Natural gas trade between Turkey and Russia became a politically sensitive topic after Turkey downed a Russian Su-24 jet on Nov. 24 for a violation of Turkish airspace along the Syrian border. Political tensions ensued, followed by a wave of economic sanctions and the banning of the import of Turkish produce and industrial goods into Russia, along with Russian refusal to issue work permits to Turkish workers in Russia. While Moscow has damaged its reputation as a reliable partner in trade in the eyes of Ankara, state-run Gazprom announced that they will continue to supply the gas promised in the agreement.
However, natural gas prices were not at issue in the wake of the downing of the jet. During his visit to Turkey in December 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow had scrapped the South Stream pipeline project, which was intended to carry Russian natural gas to Europe via Bulgaria. The project was then eplaced by the Turkish Stream pipeline instead.
The Turkish Stream pipeline project was designed to carry natural gas to Europe via the Turkish-Greek border but negotiations over a possible natural gas deal between Turkey and Russia have been met with constant delays, with both parties pushing for the other to sign the deal first. Russia promised to provide a 10.25 percent discount to BOTAŞ, but Gazprom has not applied this discount, insisting that Turkey must first approve the proposed pipeline project.