Natural gas capacity expansion projects of the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry continue at full speed with new floating storage units and capacity expansion projects at existing facilities.
During the budget negotiations in Parliament, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez announced that preparations for the purchase of Turkey's third floating natural gas storage unit to be stationed in the Gulf of Saros in the Aegean Sea.
Turkey's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FRSU), stationed in the Aliağa, İzmir on Dec. 20, contributes 20 million cubic meters of gas to the national gas network and can supply over 5.3 billion cubic meters of gas annually to the national system.
The second FSRU with 20 million cubic meters of output capacity per day started operations at a port in Dörtyol, Hatay on the Mediterranean in February.
The gas storage operations were launched in 2017 at the Lake Tuz Underground Storage Capacity in the Central Anatolia. The facility is currently running on a capacity of 600 million cubic meters of storage and 18 million cubic meters of reproduction per day.
Bids for the capacity expansion at the Lake Tuz facility were collected in September, the minister said. Once the capacity is enhanced the storage unit will be able to contain 5.4 billion cubic meters of gas and the daily reproduction capacity will increase to 80 million.
The underground natural gas facility is the country's latest LNG investment, which Turkey considers an important channel for its energy supply security. The facility will provide Turkey with 44 million cubic meters of gas on a daily basis. The cost of project has been reported to be $700 million. The World Bank had financed $325 million with an agreement signed in 2006 and another $400 million with another agreement signed in 2014. Minister Dönmez stated that the second phase of the Northern Marmara Gas Storage Facility has been completed and capacity has risen to 2.8 billion cubic meters with daily reproduction capacity of 25 million cubic meters. The work on the third phase started in January this year will be finalized in 2020. At the end of the project the total capacity of the facility will jump to 4.6 billion cubic meters while the daily reproduction capacity will hit 75 million cubic meters, he explained.
With the ongoing projects, the minister stressed, the natural gas storage capacities at the Turkish facilitates will exceed 10 billion cubic meters. "This storage capacity will make up 20 percent of Turkey's annual consumption," the minister said.
Renewable projects to continue in 2019
Dönmez stressed that it is a strategy to use renewable energy resources at the maximum level in terms of supply security and resource diversity, pointing out that the efforts to increase electricity generation from renewable sources have accelerated globally.
Dönmez recalled that 66 percent of global electricity generation is derived from fossil fuels, while 24 percent is generated from renewable energy sources, and highlighted that Turkey tops the world average with its electricity generation rate of 33.5 percent. Informing that Turkey's electricity generation from renewable sources rose from 34 billion kilowatt hours in 2002 to 88 billion kilowatt hours in 2017 with an increase of 159 percent, Dönmez said the renewable energy-based installed capacity, which stood at 12,305 megawatts in 2002, tripled at the end of the third quarter of 2018, reaching 41,719.
"The total installed capacity of renewable energy investments in 2017 and in the third quarter of 2018 alone was approximately 7,125 megawatts," he continued. "Within the scope of further increasing the ratio of domestic and renewable energy sources in the production basket, which is among our priority policies, we will commission about 10,000 megawatts of installed power for each of the wind and solar energy within ten years."
Turkey plans to hold four 250-megawatt (MW) Renewable Energy Resources Zone (YEKA) wind energy tenders for plants in Balıkesir, Çanakkale, Aydın and Muğla with an investment volume of around $1 billion. The total 1,000 MW tender, which will be held in reverse auctions and is scheduled for realization by the end of this year, will be Turkey's second YEKA project. Moreover, the energy ministry will also hold the world's largest offshore wind farm project by the end of the year.
Turkey to follow an active policy in Mediterranean
Energy Minister Dönmez stressed that Turkey's exploration and drilling operations in the Mediterranean will continue as planned with the full deployment of national means.
The minister recalled that Turkey's first national drilling vessel Fatih started operations on Oct. 3 in offshore Antalya, a coastal district in Mediterranean city of Antalya.
"The necessary steps are being taken to unlock the hydrocarbon resources across Turkey and Turkish waters. The comprehensive seismic surveys both in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean will continue with the Barbaros Hayreddin Paşa and Oruç Reis vessels," Dönmez said.
To decrease its dependency on energy import and cater for the growing market needs, the Turkish government has developed a national energy and mining strategy based on three main pillars: Localization, security of supply and predictability of market conditions, with particular importance attached to regional infrastructural projects for diversification as a guiding element. The policy is a broad framework explaining Turkey's plans in energy, including oil and gas exploration, mining and renewable energy investments.
Cyprus urges Turkey to cooperate on energy, but peace first
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said Friday that his administration is ready to work with Turkey on exploiting the east Mediterranean's potential oil and gas wealth, as long as the ethnically split island nation is reunified.
Large gas reserves have been found around the island of Cyprus and the Greek administration is already working with Egypt and Israel.
Turkey is entitled to its share of any potential gas reserves according to maritime borders specified in the United Nations Maritime Convention.
But Anastasiades insisted that the prerequisite for joining this regional energy cooperation will have to be the reunification of Cyprus, which has been split since 1974.
"We continue to upgrade our energy cooperation with countries in the eastern Mediterranean and in Europe and certainly, I underscore this, with Turkey in the event of a Cyprus settlement," Anastasiades told.
U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Kathleen Doherty said the U.S. supports Cyprus' right to develop and exploit its natural resources and believes "military responses to potential commercial disputes are inappropriate."