Increasing Usage of Natural Gas in Turkey and Its Effect on Local Economy

Turkey ranked as the seventh biggest gas-consuming country in the world with 47.7 billion cubic meters (bcm) of consumption in 2020 which was 6.5% more than 2019, according to data of the Natural Gas Distribution Companies Association of Turkey. 2021 natural gas consumption was around 2020 levels. However, Turkey’s gas consumption estimates for 2022 shows an 18.8% rise.

Turkey is heavily reliant on gas imports, from both pipeline and LNG (liquefied natural gas) and consumes in a year 15 times more than its total reserves. Turkey has reserves under the Black Sea, yet to be developed and limited local sources in the European part of the country. Turkey imports roughly 45-50 bcm of natural gas per year mainly depending on the weather conditions and the economy. Russia has been the top gas supplier of Turkey, exporting between 16-20 bcm, followed by Azerbaijan and Iran. Turkey has a long term take-or-pay agreements for natural gas arriving in Turkey via pipeline from Russia, Iran, and Azerbaijan. Around 30 percent of Turkish gas imports were in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from several sources, including the U.S., Qatar, Norway, Algeria, Nigeria and several other countries as spot deliveries.

The NG pipelines providing natural gas to Turkey are, West Line and Blue Stream from Russia, Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) from Iran and Azerbaijan

Household consumption accounted for 32.3% of natural gas, power plants comprised 28.6% and the industrial sector constituted 26.7% of gas consumption, with the remaining percentage was used by the service sector and other institutions in 2021.

The total number of natural gas subscribers reached 17.5 million in Turkey last year. The average household gas consumption in Turkey has been around 950-1000 cubic meters in the recent years.

Fossil fuels play an important role in Turkey’s energy mix, with natural gas being one of the most significant.

Coal had been then major fuel for the energy production together with the hydro until 2000. The percentage of the renewable sources have been substantially increasing since then as a result of the public awareness and Government policies. Household heating was mainly depending on coal until 1985-1990, after which with the aggressive policies imposed by the local governments (Municipalities) the natural gas usage for household heating has replaced NG almost in the whole country. Prior to this change, there was a severe air pollution problem particularly in the big cities such as capital Ankara.

The usage of NG to produce electricity is still above 20%. Despite the fact that NG is relatively a cleaner fuel compared to coal, the cost of the energy has been increasing beyond control as a result of increasing commodity prices and devalued Turkish local currency, Turkish Lira.

Going forward, the share of the natural gas in energy production will decrease with the increasing renewable energy plants which will help the emission levels. However, on the other hand the household heating and the industry dependence on natural gas seems to be continuing as there is no other alternative within the foreseeable future.

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Turkey Country Manager Dr Semih Ergur


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