Turkey returns to Russian gas
Turkey continues to increase the volume of Russian gas purchases. The trend, which has been observed since the last autumn, continues to gain momentum. According to the latest data, in January-February 2017, Turkey increased Russian's gas imports by 16.6% compared to the same period in 2016.
The expansion of cooperation in the energy sphere was discussed by the Presidents of Russia and Turkey, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during the Turkish leader's visit to Moscow in early March. Erdogan said then that the Russian-Turkish energy cooperation is of great importance both in terms of natural gas and in terms of other elements, and in general this process is increasingly developing.
An expert on energy issues, Aydin Sezer, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza. said that the increase in imports in these months has objective reasons. "January and February of this year were very cold in Turkey, Turkey was forced to purchase additional volumes of gas, while the volume of imported gas from Iran was slated. Turkey had no choice but to turn to Russia," the economist said.
According to him, Turkey could purchase even more Russian gas, but due to the inability of the Turkish gas transportation system to large volumes, it could not increase purchases.
"The daily gas transmission capacity of pipelines in Turkey is 215 million cubic meters of gas. In the coldest days, the demand reached 260-270 million cubic meters," the expert said.
In addition, Sezer explained that the price of imported gas is lower in the first 3 months of the year. "This formula is used for gas imports, and in recent months, Turkey has attracted gas to new storage facilities. I think that an increase in gas imports may be due to these moments," Sezer noted.
The similar view is shared by the Turkish political scientist Yilmaz Altinsoy. He stressed that in the energy issue Turkey traditionally depends on foreign supplies.
"I think the trend of the increasing import of Russian gas will continue, because the Turkish industry is growing. This is the moment when politics and economy between countries play an equally favorable role for solving strategic tasks in energy supply," Altinsoy said, adding that after the construction of the Turkish Stream, Turkey will be able to satisfy its gas needs to a greater extent, and will also strengthen its image as one of the main gas hubs in Europe.
A leading analyst of the National Energy Security Fund, a lecturer at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Igor Yushkov, noted that Turkey's recent purchases of Russian gas are linked to the fact that last year Moscow and Ankara had certain problems in their relations. "This is why the Turks did not seek to buy Russian gas," the expert explained.
Another reason for Turkey's increasing demand for Russian gas, in his opinion, is the price of gas. "Now, a gas price is rather low, since oil prices are still low," Igor Yushkov noted.
At the same time, he stressed that today Turkey has virtually no alternative to Russian gas. "Earlier, the Turks bought gas from Iran, but recently there is a dispute between them over the price, besides, Russian gas is cheaper," the lecturer at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation said.
"Of course, they can buy LNG, but it will be simply unprofitable," Igor Yushkov concluded.