Taking steps to reduce its reliance on external energy sources, Turkey developed its domestic capacity and ramped up its role as an international energy hub in 2016.
1. Gas prices were at the centre of a spat with Iran
Turkey’s power capacity and renewable energy resources have increased threefold in the last 14 years, according to the government. And since 2001, Turkey has had a deal in place to buy around 10 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas from Iran every year, but the financial cost is high.
The deal met setbacks this year. Turkey filed two cases in the International Court of Arbitration in 2012 against Iran that concluded on February 2.
One of the cases dealt with higher gas prices — and that case was resolved in favour of Turkey. The second case related to deficiencies in gas distribution, and the court sided with Iran.
2. Stake sale in Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant
The plant’s first unit for operations are expected to be completed in 2022.
3. Turkey and Israel mended fences, and Eastern Mediterranean gas followed suit
In June, Turkey’s normalisation of diplomatic ties with Israel paved the way for the two nations to participate over natural gas projects in the region of Israel and the East Mediterranean.
Both countries agreed to open discussions on building a gas pipeline to pump Israeli gas into Europe.
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz of Israel said that his country would "be glad to see Turkish companies involved in Israeli energy sector including in the exploration of gas fields.
Both countries improved ties six years after the Mavi Marmara incident had strained their diplomatic relations.
The relationship was damaged after Israeli soldiers killed ten civilians in a Turkish vessel in international waters that aimed to help the Gazan people.
4. A Sino-Turkish agreement on nuclear energy changed things up
In September, Turkey made a deal with China to cooperate in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The deal is a step needed to open the way for China potentially building Turkey's third nuclear power plant.
The deal was initially signed in 2012, but went into effect in when Turkey published the news in its official gazette.
The 23rd World Energy Congress held in Istanbul
In October, Turkey hosted the 23rd World Energy Congress. The energy sector’s great and the good — policymakers and executives in the energy world — came together to speak about the sector’s new frontiers.
At the Congress, energy ministers of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the oil cartel, and non-OPEC countries met in September to review a prior decision taken in Algeria to reduce global oil production. All sides agreed to continue to talk about cutting oil production and stabilising prices in future.
Russia, which is not the member of OPEC, said that the decision of slashing oil production was "productive," but that it needed to satisfy other countries.
Russia’s Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said higher production led to a decrease in oil prices and as a result, investor confidence was low.
The price of Brent crude reached $27 a barrel in January, the lowest level since December 2003. And today, amid the talks of reducing oil production, the price has gone up to $57.
"In the last two years, investments [worldwide] were reduced to $450 billion," Novak said while explaining the impact of increased production on energy sector.
In Algeria, OPEC member countries agreed to cap the group's total production at 32.5 million barrels per day, down from 33.64 million.
6. The TurkStream pipeline was revived
7. A Turkey-Turkish Cyprus energy protocol pact was signed
In October, Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) signed an energy protocol on the sidelines of the Energy Congress.
The deal aims at constructing an undersea electricity cable to link the two countries. The project will enable energy to be transported to the southern parts of the Middle East, TRNC Energy Minister Sunat Atun said.
The agreement between Turkey and TRNC includes upgraded electricity infrastructure, the development of power supply security, the construction of interconnected systems, cooperation on renewable energy, the application of electricity regulations, as well as exploration for new oil and natural gas resources.
8. Leadership of SCO’s Energy Club
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected as the chairman of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) Energy Club for 2017.
The SCO members control three-fifths of Eurasian territory, holding about 25 percent of global oil reserves, over 50 percent of gas reserves, 35 percent of coal, and about half of the world’s known uranium reserves.
Erdogan improved relations with the SCO after the European Parliament advised the European Union to suspend ties with Turkey.
9. Turkey and Venezuela inked a cooperation deal
Turkey and Venezuela signed an extensive cooperation agreement regarding the energy sector in November, aimed at developing and promoting the oil, gas and petrochemical industries.
The governments said they would exchange information and experience in the development of the energy sector.
The two nations are also set to promote joint investments that explore and extract hydrocarbon resources, as well as market the end products.
10. Turkey might pay for gas using its domestic currency
Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA) announced in December it would use the Turkish lira in the future to trade gas with countries that have vast energy reserves.
"We have taken steps also to do trade with Russia, China, and Iran in our local currency," Erdogan said.
Author: Ali Topchi