Turkey's relationship with neighboring countries has further improved with cross-border natural gas connections, energy and natural resources minister said Friday. "One of the most important examples of our regional interconnection initiatives is the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan [BTC] oil pipeline, which has supplied approximately 3.2 billion barrels of oil to date and has been operating for more than 10 years," Minister Fatih Dönmez said in his address at the First Dialogue of Energy Ministers of Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The BTC pipeline started delivering Caspian oil to Turkey and global markets in 2006. It delivers Azerbaijani light crude – mainly from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field – through Georgia to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan for further export via tankers.
Dönmez noted the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) as a second example. "It has become a new route for the Turkish and EU gas markets since it opened in last June," he said.
The 1,850-kilometer TANAP forms the backbone of the Southern Gas Corridor, a project to increase and diversify European energy supply by bringing gas resources from the Caspian Sea: Shah Deniz 2 gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey and through Turkey to Europe markets. "Both BTC and TANAP have contributed significantly to the welfare of the participating countries, as well as to partnerships, peace and stability in the region," Dönmez said. Addressing the energy ministers and senior executives from CAREC members, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, as well as the representatives of international organizations, the minister said the strategic objectives of the new CAREC 2030 Energy Strategy Study covered the recent global priorities of the energy sector.
He said the interconnections of the said strategy highlighted cooperation between regional actors as well as supporting market reforms and development of clean energy, stressing that Turkey, which made significant progress in these areas, could be an example for its partners in Central Asia. Touching on the diversity of energy networks and sources as an indispensable element of supply security, Dönmez said Turkey's natural gas storage capacity increased to 3.5 billion cubic meters and that amount would reach 11 billion cubic meters by 2023. Dönmez added that they established two Floating Storage and Re-Gasification Units for LNG imports, while work on the third one was in progress.
The minister also emphasized the fact that Turkey's installed power capacity tripled in the last 15 years and exceeded 90 gigawatts (GW), making it the sixth-largest electricity market in Europe.
He added that Turkey is ready to advance its cooperation by sharing its experience with other countries in Central Asia.