In a first, Turkey’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports in March were higher than the country’s pipeline gas imports, data from the Turkish Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA) showed on May 28.
Turkey imported 2.06bn cubic metres (bcm) of LNG in March, accounting for 52.5% of total gas imports, with US supplies markedly growing, according to the data. Pipeline gas imports in the month amounted to 1.87bcm, with imports via pipelines from Russia and Iran down 72% y/y and 33% y/y.
LNG facilities in Turkey in recent years have been expanded to the point where they can cope with up to 120mn cubic metres of natural gas per day.
Spot LNG prices have continued to fall of late amid a glut of supply. Turkey, almost entirely dependent on imports to meet its energy needs, intends to benefit from lower international LNG prices and so has kept pipeline gas imports to a minimum.
The country imported 3.9bcm of natural gas in March, lower by 8.2% y/y, the EMRA data showed.
Turkey’s Petroleum Pipeline Company (BOTAS) conducted most of the imports, at 95.3%. The private sector brought in the remainder.
The data also showed that Turkey imported 786mn cubic metres of spot LNG from Qatar and 370mn cubic metres of spot LNG from the US.
LNG imports from the US in March were up 300% y/y. Other LNG imports came from Algeria, Nigeria, Cameroon and Egypt.
Of the pipeline gas imports in March, Azerbaijan supplied 924mn cubic metres, while Iran and Russia accounted for 557mn cubic metres and 389mn cubic metres, respectively. Iran has complained to Turkey about its failure to repair a cross-border gas pipeline that in late March was taken out of action by an explosion, which Turkish officials said was caused by Kurdish PKK terrorists.
Turkey's Deputy Energy and Natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar earlier this month said LNG imports accounted for 28% of Turkey's total natural gas imports in 2019 and that at least one-third of the country's natural gas supply is expected to come from LNG in 2020, Daily Sabah reported.
He reportedly noted that 44% of gas came via LNG shipments in the first four months of the year but that the number would come down in the coming months.
Bayraktar was also cited as saying that 40% of LNG imports in the first four months derived from the US, adding that this contributed to a $100bn annual US/Turkey trade volume target.