By Ebru Sengul
Two new Floating Storage Regasification Units (FSRU) will be put into operation in Turkey, one in Hatay/Dortyol in southern Turkey and the other in Saros Bay on the Gallipoli peninsula in the northwest, Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak said on Monday.
Speaking at the Turkish Grand National Assembly [Parliament] Plan and Budget Commission, Albayrak said the Hatay FSRU will have a regasification capacity of 29 million cubic meters (mcm) per day and will become operational by the end of the year.
Turkey's natural gas storage capacity will rise to 10 billion cubic meters (bcm), or equal to 20 percent of annual natural gas consumption, he said.
In addition, the expansion phase of the North Marmara underground natural gas storage facility will be finalized by 2020 to have a storage capacity of 4.6 billion cubic meters, according to the minister.
The plant transfers 25 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas per day to the Turkish gas system, but this is set to increase to 75 mcm per day by 2020, he added.
To help meet the country's increasing natural gas demand, 94 percent of the construction works for the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project will be complete by the end of the year, he asserted.
TANAP is a natural gas pipeline, currently under construction, and stretching from the Turkey-Georgia border to the Turkey-Greece border to supply natural gas both to Turkey and also to European countries.
The project will start transporting natural gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey next year and to Europe in the first quarter of 2020 via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).
TANAP's initial capacity per year will be 16 billion cubic meters, out of which Turkey will utilize 6 billion cubic meters while the remaining 10 billion cubic meters will be delivered to Europe.
The Turkish energy minister also noted that 65 new oil wells would be drilled both offshore and onshore, totaling 100,000 meters by the end of 2017.
In 2016, the number of oil wells drilled was 44, in total 75.3 thousand meters of drilling, he said.
- Renewables and local coal
To increase the share of local resources and renewables in the energy production mix, 10 thousand megawatts (MW) each of solar and wind power per annum will be brought on line in the next ten years, Albayrak highlighted.
He elaborated that in the last 10 years, almost 53 percent of electricity production investments were made in the renewables sector.
Through critical developments in clean coal technologies in recent years, he said that local coal would become an important instrument for energy supply security in the future.
Claims of Turkey's coal resources being of low quality hampered coal usage up until now, he explained.
- Nuclear energy
Albayrak underlined that 20,000 workers will be employed during the construction of Turkey's first nuclear plant in the Mersin province and the planned second plant at Sinop on the Black Sea coast.
Turkey plans to build three nuclear power plants, with a construction date set for Akkuyu in early 2018 and an operation start planned for 2023.
These nuclear power plants will pave the way for nearly $16 billion of investment opportunities for local businesses, who plan to manufacture nuclear equipment and supply nuclear materials, the minister noted.
"Big progress has been made for the construction of the planned nuclear power plants in Akkuyu and Sinop while location surveying continues for the third plant," he said.
He concluded that the ministry's draft budget for 2018 amounts to 2.38 billion Turkish liras ($60.6 million).