Aiming to expand its gas storage capacity, Turkey witnessed a groundbreaking ceremony for the Lake Tuz (Tuz Golü) Underground Storage Expansion Facility, which is of critical importance in terms of Turkey's energy supply and security. "Our expansion project is the largest storage project among all the storage projects currently under construction in the world," Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said yesterday in his address at the ceremony in the Sultanhanı district in the province of Aksaray.
"With this project, Turkey will increase its natural gas storage capacity at the underground gas storage facility to 5.4 billion cubic meters, up from 1.2 billion cubic meters," Dönmez added. The facility is part of Turkey's aim to expand its gas storage capacity. Dönmez said the facility expansion would increase the supply capacity to 80 million cubic meters per day of natural gas to the country's gas network. "We will gradually continue to commission the other parts. Hopefully, we will reach all 12 caverns in 2021 and we will have completed the first phase of our project of 1.2 billion cubic meters… I hope with the groundbreaking ceremony, we will complete the remaining 40 caverns of our project at once," the minister said.
"Our expansion project is the largest storage project among all the storage projects currently under construction in the world. When completed, I hope it will be the world's largest storage facility with a total capacity of 5.4 billion cubic meters," he said.
Dönmez highlighted that this phase of the project is expected to be completed by 2023.
Indicating that with the expansion of Silivri natural gas storage facility located west of Istanbul along with Lake Tuz, 11 billion cubic meters (bcm) of storage capacity will be reached, Dönmez recalled Turkey's 2023 target to store 20% of Turkey's annual natural gas consumption.
FACILITY TO MEET ELECTRICITY NEEDS FROM SOLAR POWER PLANT
Stating that the project is environmentally friendly, Dönmez said the facility will meet 60% of its electricity need from a solar power plant that is projected to be commissioned within this year.
"We will commission our whole solar power plant in 2021 and thus, we will meet all of the electricity needs through solar power plants," the minister added.
In his speech, Dönmez also noted the transformations Turkey has been going through, in every sense, and that it positively reflected on the energy sector and natural gas sector.
The minister said Turkey has closed the subject of the energy supply issue with the natural gas storage commissioned in recent years, the liquefied natural gas (LNG) and Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FRSU) investments and international pipelines such as Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Project (TANAP) and TurkStream natural gas pipeline project.
"Today, we have an infrastructure capable of delivering more than 300 million cubic meters of gas to the system, in return for average daily consumption of 250 million cubic meters. Hopefully we will increase this figure to 400 million cubic meters soon," Dönmez said.
In the meantime, Turkish Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAŞ) awarded the design, supply and installation of the second phase of the Lake Tuz Underground Storage Expansion Facility to a joint venture between China's Camc Engineering and Turkey's IC Içtaş Construction, BOTAŞ confirmed on March 13.
BOTAŞ said the $1.2 billion Lake Tuz contract would run for 1,800 days. The total amount will be paid in three different currencies; $808.2 million, plus 198.8 million euros ($228 million) and TL 585.3 million.
According to the government's 2019 investment program, Turkey will allocate nearly TL 7.71 billion for 104 projects in the energy sector with BOTAŞ taking the lion's share of public investment in the energy sector. The largest share allocated for BOTAŞ will be used for Lake Tuz.
The country will allocate nearly TL 3.70 billion for the corporation's 15 ongoing and planned projects for this year. With investments it made in the natural gas storage facilities, Turkey ranks among the top countries in Europe, Dönmez previously said, noting that thanks to the natural gas storage projects planned in Turkey, the country ranks fifth after Italy, the U.K., Romania and Poland, while it ranks second to the U.K. in terms of total capacity.
On June 27, 2018, the World Bank and China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) approved a total credit of $1.2 billion for the Lake Tuz facility.
The Lake Tuz Underground Gas Storage Facility was officially opened on Feb. 10, 2017 by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.