Race between pipelines and LNG could benefit Turkey: IEA chief

Race between pipelines and LNG could benefit Turkey: IEA chief

Gökçe Aytulu – ISTANBUL
Race between pipelines and LNG could benefit Turkey: IEA chief

French Energy company Schneider Electric’s Cluster President for Turkey and Central Asia Countries, Bora Tuncer, presented the company’s “Positive Energy Award” to Fatih Birol in a ceremony in Istanbul on Dec 25. “Sustainable energy is the future and the technology will be decisive for that,” Bora said during the event.

The rising global rivalry between the two major natural gas production and transportation techniques — pipelines and the liquefied natural gas (LNG) — will lean toward the benefit of the latter in the near future, granting advantages to energy importing countries such as Turkey, according to the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

“Trade war between the pipelines and LNG will be ignited soon and natural gas importer countries like Turkey will gain from this situation,” Fatih Birol told a group of journalists in a Dec. 25 meeting in Istanbul.

“Turkey cannot be prodigal when it comes to energy consumption,” Birol said, highlighting the country’s preparations for the new challenge between the pipelines and the LNG, which is mainly carried by tankers.

“It is getting difficult to invest money in building pipelines due to financial volatility. Growth in the worldwide natural gas market will be by LNG by 90 percent against 10 percent by pipelines in 15 years,” he said.

Eventually, “the competition between the LNG and pipeline gas exporters will push down the prices,” the IEA director said.

Birol stressed the importance of renewable energy technologies by sharing data that show that oil reserves in the world might end in 80 years unless new resources are found.

“Turkey could export renewable energy technologies and its know-how to potential Middle Eastern markets,” Birol said.

He advised Turkey to focus on four major steps in energy.

“Get the marginal utility from the LNG-pipeline competition. Cautiously invest in nuclear power, become a renewable energy exporter and take energy consumption seriously,” he suggested.

According to the agency’s flagship publication, World Energy Outlook 2018, significant transformations are underway in the global energy sector. Birol elaborated on the trends, projecting that the U.S. will become the world’s largest oil producer again with the help of shale oil.

“Geography of energy in the world is continuously changing. Twenty years ago, the U.S. was the largest energy consumer. Today, China has passed the U.S. OPEC countries and Russia used to designate the oil and gas prices. Shale oil revolution dramatically changed all these facts,” Birol said.

The U.S. daily shale oil production has reached 8 million barrels, the double of daily oil production in Iraq per day, which means the U.S. has joined the nip-and-tuck contest between the world’s leading oil exporters, Saudi Arabia and Russia, the IEA director said.

“Today, even $45-50 a barrel crude oil price is profitable in the U.S, thanks to technological developments in shale drilling. The United States will be the absolute leader in both oil and natural gas production in the near future.”

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