Israeli National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Minister Yuval Steinitz, speaking to the press at the IHS CERAWeek 2016 Energy Conference in Houston, Texas, commented on the promise of Greece and Turkey's routes to carry Israeli natural gas to Europe. "In order to realize this project, the diplomatic relations between the two countries needs to go back to normal. Both sides are eager. I believe the problems will be solved in the next few weeks or months," Steinitz said, adding that Turkey's route looks good for transporting the Israeli gas to Europe. On Turkey's natural gas market, Steinitz said: "Turkey's demand for gas will increase. The possibility to sell natural gas supplies to the Turkish market and Europe via Turkey is promising."
He also highlighted the fact that while the diplomatic problems between Turkey and Israel need to be solved immediately, the economic relations are strong. Steinitz concluded that due to the new natural gas fields found beneath the eastern Mediterranean Sea, energy collaboration between Turkey, Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Egypt will increase, and more stability will be achieved. According to data provided by the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), the Levant Basin off the shores of Israel has reserves that contain up to 510 billion cubic meters of natural gas while the Aphrodite gas field off the southern coast of Cyprus has reserves that contain up to 200 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
Meanwhile, in the process of drawing an energy roadmap, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak announced in February that priority will be given to local resources, and the share of renewable energy supply resources will be increased. He also drew particular attention to the prospect that the variety of supplier countries for crude oil and natural gas will be increased, while risks arising from imports will decrease. Accordingly, the $110 billion investment required over the next 10 years will mainly be covered by the private sector, and related regulations will be enforced in order to facilitate it. Seasonal fluctuations in demand and the necessity to ensure supply security require the current storage capacity to be increased. Albayrak also added that as a result of regional energy collaboration, Turkey is to become a regional hub and an energy terminal.
In an effort to increase natural gas supply security, Albayrak said in December that the ministry's priority will be to increase the country's natural gas storage capacity. Regarding energy policy, he stressed that the government will support investments in two natural gas storage facilities with a total capacity of 4 billion cubic meters by introducing a comprehensive stimulus package. The investment aims to make a major contribution to natural gas supply security and trade in Turkey as a part of endeavors to increase the country's natural gas storage capacity.
The government is set to offer a stimulus package for the construction of two new natural gas storage facilities to be constructed in Mersin via Toren Natural Gas Storage and Mining Inc. and Gas Storage and Mining Inc. by Bendis Energy. Bendis Energy will invest nearly $10.5 billion in storage facilities, which will have a total capacity of 4 billion cubic meters.
The natural gas supply from Russia to Turkey topped the agenda after a Russian military jet violating Turkish airspace over the southern province of Hatay was downed by the Turkish Armed Forces in November 2015. As a result, the Russian government decided to impose economic sanctions against Turkey, including banning some Turkish goods from entering the country. Due to binding agreements, the Russian natural gas flow to Turkey has continued and been uninterrupted; however, Turkey held talks with several natural gas suppliers since the incident to ensure future energy supply security.