FRESH ENERGY PROJECTS: Turkey, desirable partner for Romania
- Written by Adrian Stoica
The value of Romanian-Turkish commercial exchanges amounted last year to over EUR 2.1 billion, while imports stood at over EUR 1.7 billion. Meanwhile, total direct and indirect investments of Turkish companies in Romania exceeded EUR 4 billion, according to estimates. Romania’s interest to expand and diversify of relations with Turkey was recently highlighted by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Tourism, Mihai Tudose, who said that our country intends to increase the annual volume of bilateral trade with Turkey to USD 10 billion. Within this cooperation, a special place is taken by the energy sector, an area where Turkey announces massive investments in the coming years.
Turkey has experienced rapid growth of energy consumption and the country needs to invest about USD 120 billion in energy projects by 2023, stated in early February Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as quoted by the international media. “Turkey has grown enormously during the last 12 years, growth which led to increased energy consumption. And energy consumption will double by 2023. We must increase energy production quickly. We need to invest USD 120 billion in energy projects by 2023,” President Erdogan said.
According to him, the Kirkuk-Yumurtalik oil pipeline has become operational again. He also referred to the Trans-Anatolian (TANAP) project, which will transport Azerbaijani gas to European markets across Turkey, as being an interesting project. “We are determined to develop nuclear energy in Turkey, as well as renewable energy. (...) We hope that the gas will flow through TANAP soon,” added Erdogan. In Turkey, natural gas and electricity prices are cheaper as compared to the prices in the 28 EU countries, being at the same level as in 2008, said Energy Minister Taner Yildiz.
He said that his ministry has prioritized the renewable resources in order to cut natural gas imports, adding that Turkey wants to supplement by another 110,000 MW the current installed capacity by 2023 and wants 30 percent of the installed power to come from renewable resources. He said Turkey has paid USD 850 million less for energy imports in 2014 due to the increased installed capacity in renewable energy. In Turkey there are currently 615 energy producing companies, 160 suppliers and more than one million eligible consumers. The natural gas consumption in the country increased three-fold in the last decade to 50 billion cubic meters.
Turkish Stream instead of South Stream
The Russian company Gazprom has announced in February that it has broadly agreed part of its new pipeline to Turkey with Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz. The pipeline, which would compensate by the end of 2016 the abandoning of the South Stream project towards the European Union, is to cross the Black Sea, to pass through the north-western Turkey town of Luleburgaz, across the Greek-Turkish border to the town of Ipsala, a release issued by Gazprom informs. The first section of this pipeline, with a length of 900 km, will have a total capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas annually, but after the final deadline the four branches will supply 63 billion cubic meters of gas. These amounts will be made available to the European countries, but Gazprom warned in mid-January that they must build their own pipelines, the company having no intention of supplying them through Ukraine. The Russian group said it will install the underwater part of the Turkish Stream and that the terrestrial part in Turkey will be built in cooperation with the Turkish company Botas.
Turkey, included into the South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion route
The British group BP and its partners have officially launched in September last year the South Caucasus gas pipeline (South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion), to connect Sangachal oil terminal to eastern Turkey through Georgia. The entire southern corridor is to include three pipelines that will connect the Sangachal oil terminal near Baku, owned by BP group, to southern Italy, through Georgia, Turkey and Greece. The Corridor’s construction is to be completed in 2018 and the first tranche of natural gas will be delivered in 2019. The supply of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe will reduce the European countries’ dependence on Russian giant Gazprom, which supplies about a quarter of the natural gas needed in region. Among the BP partners in the project there are Statoil (Norway), Socar (Azerbaijan), Total (France), Naftiran Intertrade (Iran), TPAO (Turkey) and Lukoil (Russia).
The underwater cable, a chance to increase Romanian energy exports
The cooperation with Turkey is an important element for the energy sector in Romania, in terms of turning to good account the export potential, and the submarine cable project is extremely important for Romania. The construction of an underwater cable project to transport energy from Romania to Turkey via the Black Sea could be viable, given the current price of energy and technology, the Turkish side admits. The Energy Ministers from the two countries signed last year a memorandum for this project in Bucharest. “The building of this project would allow Romania to export 800 MWh of electric power, which is extremely important in a time when we can produce more energy, which unfortunately we cannot deliver due to lack of interconnections,” former Romanian Minister of Energy, Constantin Nita, declared at the time. Also, the talks that took place during the meeting of the two ministers approached a variant of land line to transport energy through Bulgaria.