Azerbaijan becomes Turkey’s major gas supplier as Ankara reduces dependence on Russia

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A handout picture taken and released on June 12, 2018, by the Turkish Presidential Press Service shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C), Turkish Cypriot Leader Mustafa Akinci (L), Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (2ndL), Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (3rdR), Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (2ndR) and Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak attending the inauguration ceremony of Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), in Eskisehir, Turkey June 12 , 2018. Erdogan on June 12, 2018 opened a new gas pipeline that will pump Caspian gas from energy-rich Azerbaijan across Anatolia to Europe for the first time. The $8.5 billion Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) is one of several mega projects being showcased by Erdogan as he heads to keenly-fought elections on June 24. / AFP PHOTO / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / KAYHAN OZER

Azerbaijan has become Turkey’s major gas supplier following Ankara’s years-long efforts to reduce its dependence on Russian gas, according to the Eurasia Review news and analysis website.

From January to May of this year, Turkey imported more than 4.5 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas from the Shah Deniz field, 20.4 percent more than the same period last year. On the other hand, in May 2020 gas imports from Russia shrank by almost 62 percent of imports in the same month of 2019.

Beginning in May 2020 Azerbaijan officially became Turkey’s top gas supplier.

Overall this is a continuation of the trend from 2019 when Azerbaijan’s share in Turkey’s gas supplies reached 21.2 percent, 6.23 percent more than in the same period of 2018.

This became possible after the launch of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) in late 2019. The $6.5 billion project is essentially part of the $40 billion Southern Gas Corridor, with a number of pipelines connecting Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to the vast European market.

TANAP has the capacity to transport up to 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Caspian gas per year: 10 bcm go to Europe and 6 bcm to the Turkish market. TANAP could potentially have a capacity of up to 31 bcm.

It was previously reported that the capacity of TANAP would reach a cap of 6 bcm of natural gas by the end of June. To reach this milestone the volume went up gradually, first reaching 11.3 million cubic meters (m3) in July 2019. This July the highest volume of 17 million m3 was recorded.

This is occurring at the time when Russian gas flows to Turkey are at a low point. Repair work on the pipeline was announced, which has further contributed to the decrease of Russian gas potential in Turkey.

As a result the $7.8 billion, 930-kilometer TurkStream pipeline, built across the Black Sea and inaugurated in early 2020, has been superseded by Azerbaijan as a major gas supplier.

In 2017, Gazprom exported 52 percent of Turkey’s total gas imports. In 2018 the figure stood at 47 percent and in 2019 at just 33 percent (15.9 bcm).

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