February 2017 saw the commissioning of a critical investment for enhancing the security of gas supplies. As part of the policy to increase energy supply security, Turkey opened Tuz Gölü gas storage facility in the Central Anatolian province of Aksaray. This facility will increase the country’s total storage capacity by nearly 50 percent.
The facility was inaugurated on February 10 with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Minister of Energy Berat Albayrak. Comprised of 12 wells constructed with an investment of USD 700 million, the facility will pump about 44 mcm of gas daily into the country’s gas network. With the completion of new phases of investment within the next few years, its storage capacity is expected to increase up to 5.4 bcm.
In December 2016, Turkey also put into operation its first ﬂoating storage regasification unit (FSRU) at Aliağa on the Aegean coast. The terminal’s development, from the final investment decision to completion, took 6.5 months. Engie, the French multinational energy group, was selected by the project partners Kolin and Kalyon to commit the 145,000-cubic meters Neptune vessel to the project.
With a capacity of up to 20 million cubic meters per day of gas send-out, the new Etki LNG terminal, together with two other onshore LNG terminals, will enhance the security of Turkey’s natural gas supply.
In 2016, Turkey's energy imports fell 28.2 percent compared to the previous year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. Turkey’s total electricity generation in 2016 was 269.8 billion kilowatt-hours, of which 131.8 billion kilowatt-hours, or almost half, came from domestic and renewable energy sources. The share of natural gas in electricity production was 89.14 billion kilowatt-hours, which meant its share in total electricity generation in 2016 was 33 percent, down from 37.8 percent in 2015.
In a ceremony on February 22, 2017, marking the 15th anniversary of the foundation of the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA), Minister of Energy Berat Albayrak stated that Turkey, a country that currently spends USD 50 billion on energy and mineral imports every year, may become an energy exporter in the next 10 years.
Albayrak, recalling the importance attached to local and renewable resources, underlined that 2016 was a record year with around 49 percent of Turkey’s electricity generated from local and renewable resources. “In the next 10 years, we should increase the share of domestic resources in electricity generation to at least two-thirds. We need to move this ratio to over 50 percent this year. We will work together, shoulder to shoulder. From now on, we will look for more resources, implement regulations, and open the way for investors, being supportive for a win-win model. We will install nuclear plants as well as local-coal fired ones. We need to develop resources with richer calorific values. Turkey spends USD 50 billion on imports every year; however, it will start paying less”, he added.
Noting that Turkey's ratio of electricity generation from domestic coal reserves rose to 16 percent from 12 percent in 2016, Minister Albayrak pointed out that Turkey will take steps in both local coal and nuclear energy production.