By Ismihan Ozguven
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey began operations of its second floating liquefied natural gas unit (FSRU) with 20 million cubic meters of send-out capacity per day, Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak announced late Wednesday.
The FSRU docked at a port in Dortyol, Hatay - a province in the Mediterranean region.
The country aims to reduce dependency on pipeline gas through FSRUs, and therefore, these units dock at ports close to regions with higher gas consumption, Albayrak explained.
"We are minimizing investment costs for transmission and distribution lines as well as transportation costs [with FSRUs]," he added.
Turkey's first FSRU was launched in Aliaga, Izmir in December of 2016 at a time when the country needed extra gas capacity to meet the increased consumption due to the very cold weather conditions at that time.
The first unit, which Turkish companies Kolin and Kalyon operate, also has 20 million cubic meters of send-out capacity per day.
"The (second) unit has 263,000 cubic meters of LNG storage capacity. This capacity size is the largest in the world. The unit has around 20 million cubic meters of daily send-out capacity and will contribute a lot to Turkey's energy security," Albayrak said.
To ensure energy security for the country, an efficient natural gas infrastructure is imperative, Albayrak asserted.
"Turkey will increase its 3.5 billion cubic meters of gas storage capacity from Silivri and Salt Lake storage facilities to 10 billion cubic meters by 2023. Our target is to be able to store at least 20 percent of our annual gas consumption so that we can have more energy security," he said.
- Surplus gas could be exported
He added that Turkey has already increased its daily send-out capacity from 190 million cubic meters in 2015 to 288 million cubic meters by the end of 2017.
"This capacity is 20 percent more than Turkey's highest daily gas consumption of 250 million cubic meters. So, Turkey will not only be able to meet its gas needs but will also be able to export the surplus capacity," Albayrak argued.
A strong gas infrastructure will also provide Turkey with more competitiveness in the region, he asserted.
"In that regard, the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline project (TANAP) will start delivering gas in the middle of this year while the first gas from TurkStream will come in 2019," he said, adding that with these projects, Turkey will become an intersection point for eight natural gas pipeline projects.
TANAP, with around $8.5 billion of investment, will deliver 6 billion cubic meters of Azeri gas to Turkey and 10 billion to Europe. The European part of the project is expected to become operational in 2020.
The TurkStream project is a direct pipeline from Russia to Turkey with 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas capacity set aside for Turkey's use while a second line with the same 15.75 billion cubic meter capacity is planned for Europe's needs.