Turkey fails to receive Azeri gas due to lack of stations
Merve Erdil ISTANBUL / Hürriyet
The Erzincan station that could solve the transmission problem has been constructed but the government didn’t announce when it will start to operate, sources has told Hürriyet reporters. REUTERS photoTurkey cannot receive gas from Azerbaijan it has already paid for due to a delay to the opening of new gas compressor stations, as it prioritizes obtaining gas from Iran.
“As the station in the eastern Turkish province of Erzincan has not become operational, it’s not possible for Turkey to obtain Iranian and Azerbaijani gas at the same time and currently it lays weight on Iranian gas,” a sector representative told daily Hürriyet reporters.
There is a substantial amount of gas that Turkey can receive from Azerbaijan, but due to the lack of connection system infrastructure and sufficient compressors to store gas, it cannot.
Within Turkey’s take or pay deals with natural gas-provider countries, there is a four-to-five-year make-up period for the gas it didn’t take but already paid for during annual payment.
There is Doğubayazıt compressor station on the Iran route, and a Hanak compressor on the Azerbaijan route. When the Doğubayazıt compressor works to get Iranian gas, the gas coming from Azerbaijan is blocked and vice versa.
Aiming to help the transmission of the increasing volumes of gas that are expected to be imported into Turkey from existing and new sources, state-owned Turkish Pipeline Company (BOTAŞ) has been working on constructing the Erzincan compressor station in eastern Turkey. The station, also funded by the World Bank, has been due to be opened for a long time ago, but there has been no official announcement about the precise dates or about the possible reasons for delay.The compressor is crucial at this point, as it would serve to transfer the blocked gas to make it usable.
“The Erzincan station has been constructed, and they said it would begin operation in March, but probably [the opening] has been extended,” sources said.
As the deadline for the Iranian gas comes closer, Turkey is concentrating on obtaining Iranian gas, but this time it faces the same problem with Azerbaijani gas.
The sources have said Turkey pays around $600 for 1,000 cubic meters of Iranian gas while it pays around $300 for the same amount of Azerbaijani gas.
After Russia, which undertakes around 46 percent of Turkey’s gas imports, Iran is the second gas supplier for Turkey with 20 percent, while Azerbaijan is the third with almost 12 percent, according to 2011 OECD data.