Turkey as regional energy corridor: aspirations, possibilities, risks. Plamen Dimitrov

Turkey as regional energy corridor: aspirations, possibilities, risks

 

Plamen Dimitrov, PhD

L.N.Gumilyov Eurasian National University

 

Paper presented at the conference “Security, Democracy and Development in the Southern Caucasus and the Black Sea Region”, 11-13 October 2012, Istanbul, Kadir Has University

 

 

  1. 1.     Geographical position advantage – how much oil and gas have Turkish neighbours?

Turkey is a one out of  two big transcontinental Eurasian countries. The territory of Turkey is 784 square kilometres. It is more than 1,600 kilometres long and 800 km wide, with a roughly rectangular shape. Turkey is the only country that has simultaneously wide outlet to the Black Sea and to the Mediterranean and fully controls the only water connection between these two seas.

Though of large territory, Turkey has no rich oil and gas fields. Turkey's proved oil reserves are 270 million barrels (35 million tones) only, while its natural gas reserves are under 6 bcm. Turkey’s annual production of oil is 2,4 million tones which is less than 10% of country’s oil consumption. Its own gas production is under 1 bcm annually (729.4 million cubic meters in 2009[1]).

Regardless of Turkey’s own negligible oil and gas production the country is an important player in the international energy supply business. That is determined by two factors – country’s large energy consumption and the increasing number of oil and gas streams passing through it. In 2011 Turkish oil consumption was 32 million tons (0,8% of the world consumption), and that of gas was 45,7 bcm (1,4% of the world’s gas consumption[2]).

However, the quantity of oil passing in transit through the country by means of tankers or pipelines is much bigger than the country’s own consumption. A sharp increase in the quantities of gas passing in transit through Turkish territory is also expected. The reason for it is the fact that countries some of them among the biggest producers of oil and gas in the world are in close proximity of Turkey. They are Russia, the newly independent Caspian republics, Iraq and Iran.   

In result of the often quoted data that Turkey is geographically located in close proximity to 72% of the world’s proven gas reserves and 73% of its oil reserves[3] the potential energy transit through Turkish territory is overrated. Actually, these reserves are mainly situated in the Persian Gulf region and since they are carried by tankers, it means that they can not feed the pipelines going via Turkish territory.  

Russia has always been one of the world’s major exporters of oil, its yearly export being about 240 million tons. About a third of these quantities passes through the Black Sea and further on via the Turkish Straits. At the same time Russia delivers gas to Turkey by two pipelines but all projects for transit transportation of Russian gas to third countries via Turkey failed.

Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are new stars at the world’s energy supply horizon.  Azerbaijan’s oil reserves are 1 billion tons, 45-50 mln tons per year are produced and more than 35 mln tons are exported through the pipeline connecting Baku with the Turkish port of Ceyhan. In the course of the next few years this quantity will probably not be changed too much.

A sharp increase in Azerbaijan’s gas production is expected after 2017, and nearly all expected Azeri export of 20 bcm per annum will reach Turkey or pass in transit through it.. Kazakhstan is an oil reserves giant with reserves of 3,9 billion tons and a production of  82 mln tons in 2011. However, by the end of this decade Kazakhstan’s oil production will exceed 100 mln tons annually and about half of this quantity will be transported by the pipeline going to the Russian port of Novorossiysk and then through the Turkish Straits.

Turkmenistan is with rather modest oil reserves but the country’s gas reserves are the fourth biggest in the world – 24,3 tcm. Its 2011 gas production was comparatively modest - of 59,4 bcm[4] . Actually the Turkmenistan gas is the most important and most difficult to predict factor which in medium and long term may significantly bring to the fore Turkey’s role as a gas transit country.

Iran is one of the key players on the world’s oil market but it does not concern its neighbour, Turkey as the Iranian oil is exported only by tankers through the Persian Gulf. But Turkey remains for the time being the only foreign market of Iranian gas. Besides, Teheran hopes to overcome the geopolitical isolation it is placed under at present and to export in future its gas to Europe via pipelines passing through Turkish territory.

Iraq is a country of rich gas and particularly rich oil reserves but Iraqi energy supplies could be exported to Turkey only from Iraqi Kurdish autonomous part as the oil of the south Iraqi regions is exported by tankers.

Finally, the recently discovered in the East Mediterranean rich gas reserves should be mentioned. However, owing to geopolitical reasons it is most improbable that Israel or Cyprus would direct their future export via Turkey.

If we have another look at the map, we shall see that  important oil-gas reserves are situated to the Nord, to the East, and to the South from Turkey while the EU, one of the world’s biggest and most solvent energy supplies markets is situated to West and North-West from it. This combination of neighbours with large oil-gas production on the one side and neighbours with large energy import on the other is precisely what significantly increases the geopolitical importance of Turkey and gives it the chance to turn into one of the most important power supply passageways in the world.

The purpose of this report is to show Turkey’s ambitions and its possibilities to turn itself into a key player in the Eurasian energy geopolitics.

 

  1. 2.     Tankers, pipelines and politics – Turkey as an oil passageway

For the time being the main oil route crossing Turkey passes through the Turkish Straits (Bosporus and Dardanelles). Only half a mile wide at its narrowest point, the Turkish Straits are one of the world's most difficult waterways to navigate due to its sinuous geography. With 50,000 vessels, including 5,500 oil tankers, passing through the straits annually it is also one of the world's busiest chokepoints[5].

Annually, about 135-140 mln tons of oil and oil products pass through the Bosporus which is about 7% of the world’s quantity of oil transported by tankers. At least 30 mln tons per year will be added to this quantity after 2014 when the doubling of the capacity of the pipeline connecting Kazakhstan with the Russian port of Novorossiysk will be completed.

The constantly increasing oil traffic through the Bosporus enormously increases the ecological risks for Istanbul with its population of 16 million people. Besides, the period of time that tankers have to wait for entering the Bosporus keeps on increasing and it results in losses to the oil companies.

According to Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits in time of peace the merchant vessels have a free passage through the Bosporus but Turkey still introduces certain regulations to prevent the danger of accidents which might cause serious ecological disasters. Tankers are permitted to pass the Bosporus only in daylight. Besides, tankers of capacity more than 120 000 tons are banned which also increases transport expenses.  

Owing to the problems tankers faced passing through the Bosporus even in the 1990s different pipeline routes to avoid the Straits and create a new oil link between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea were considered.

For a long time the project for a pipeline to connect the Bulgarian port of Burgas with the Greek port of Alexandropoulis was considered as the most realistic one. It was a joined project of Russia, Bulgaria and Greece. For its sake in 2007 the Trans-Balkan Pipeline B. V. was established, it was meant to build and operate the pipeline. Russia’s share through three of its state companies was 51%, and Bulgaria and Greece were to have 24,5% each. The final investment decision concerning Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline construction was postponed for a long time until on 7th December 2011, the Bulgarian government officially decided to terminate its participation in the project due to environmental and supply concerns. At present it is the end of this project which will hardly be renewed in the next few years regardless of Russia’s and Greece’s declarations that they are not abandoning it.

The Turkish solution regarding the heavy oil traffic via the Bosporus is called Samsun-Ceyhan, a pipeline meant to transfer at least 50 mln tons of oil from the Black Sea to the deepwater Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. For the building of the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline (or the Trans-Anatolian pipeline) a joint venture company was established in which the Italian Eni and the Turkish Çalik Enerji hold 50% each.

According to preliminary estimations the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline is to be twice the length of Burgas-Alexandroupolis one (550 compared to 279 km) and twice its price (2bln versus 1bln USD). Eni being one of the biggest shareholders in the oil-production from the giant oil field of Kashagan in Kazakhstan is chiefly relied on for feeding the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline to capacity. Kazakhstani oil is planned to pass through the pipeline to Novorossiysk and then to be transported in tankers to Samsun.

Thus regarding their shareholder structure and expected sources of oil Burgas- Alexandroupolis and Samsun-Ceyhan are nearly each others mirror image. With its Russian shareholders the “Eastern Orthodox” pipeline has secured Russian oil but not Caspian oil while owing to Еni Trans-Anatolian pipeline can rely on Caspian Sea oil (Kashagan) but not on Russian oil. In the autumn of 2009 it seemed that Moscow would turn to favour the Samsun-Ceyhan project after the ministers of energy of Italy, Turkey and Russia signed an inter-government agreement in support of the Trans-Anatolian pipeline[6]. The Russian state companies Rosneft and Transneft were expected to become shareholders in the Samsun-Ceyhan project. But in the fall of 2011, Transneft announced a halt in the negotiations on the pipeline due to the lack of its profitability.

The profitability problem is actually the main obstruction for the time being impeding the construction of pipeline connecting the Black Sea with the Mediterranean. Considering the present quantities of oil transported from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean the Turkish Straits route is the cheapest one. According to different calculations the transfer via Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline might have cost 3 to 6 times more then it does via the Straits while through Burgas-Alexandroupolis route – no less than twice. The Trans-Anatolian Pipeline can turn profitable only in two cases: a serious increase in the quantities of oil requiring outlet on the Black Sea or a serious raise in tankers passage fee through the Straits. The first condition can be met only after 2020 as the peak oil at the Kashagan oil field was postponed with at least several years. And Turkey will hardly raise the expenses of oil transportation via Bosporus as the consequence will be international legal problems as well as a risk of Kazakhstani oil flowing in another direction, toward the Ukrainian Odessa-Brody pipeline for instance.

There are also projects for pipelines connecting the Black Sea with Mediterranean Sea and passing through the Turkish European territory but they have meager chances for realization.  The same refers to the promoted by Prime Minister Erdogan idea to dig a “second Bosporus” between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea which will relieve the Straits ships and tankers traffic.

At present, the most important international pipeline passing through Turkish territory is the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline connecting the Caspian oil fields with the Mediterranean Sea. Its construction was preceded by a long geopolitical fight between Russia on one side and Turkey, the USA and Western Europe jointly on the other. The point was in which direction the oil of the biggest Azerbaijani oil field should flow – to the north, toward Russia or to the south-west, toward Turkey. Finally, the last word concerning that rivalry was of the private companies extracting oil in Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev.  In justifying his decision in favour the Mediterranean route, Aliyev (not without some self-irony maybe) remarked to his close foreign policy advisor, Vafa Quluzade: „the Kremlin is now in Washington”[7]. This short phrase expresses the substance of the geopolitical situation in which the geopolitical choice in favour of the Turkish route for the Azerbaijani oil export was made. Though Aliyev is an ex-KGB General and former member of Politburo of the Soviet Communist Party, he decided that the Azerbaijani geopolitical vector had to be redirected from Moscow to Turkey.

The BTC pipeline was set in exploitation in 2006. It is 1768 кm long, with initial capacity of 50 mln tons per year, later increased to 60 mln tons. The ВТС construction had serious geopolitical consequences. Armenia was finally put in isolation as it was clear that Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey would exclude it from any projects for oil and gas transfer from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. The relations between Ankara and Baku have been further reinforced as Turkey obtained another instrument of influence in the Caucasus.

Opinions regarding the BTC expediency and importance are contradictory. Some experts point out its obvious economic advantages – the only possibility for the Caspian oil have an outlet to the open sea and at a deepwater port which can be entered by big tankers. Others describe it as a economically void “geopolitical project”.  

The Turkish point of view could be shown through the words of the influential analyst, Zeyno Baran. She writes: „the BTC project cannot be considered just as a commercial project, but is a key part of a broad vision for Turkey and its regional allies. The BTC pipeline was conceived and promoted by Turkey mainly for geopolitical reasons, with economic arguments largely absent from the decision-making process. Nevertheless, for Turkey the long-term economic outlook for BTC is positive”[8].

Actually, for an economy the size of the Turkish one the BTC transit fees, presently under 200 mln USD annually, are insignificant. Even more, in the spring of 2011 the Turkish state company Botas, operator of the pipeline on Turkish territory complained of suffering losses amounting to 31 mln USD for the five years of ВТС being in exploitation[9].

The main problem with the ВТС is that for the time being at least it does not operate to its full capacity. In 2009, 2010 and 2011 only 36-38 mln tons oil annually passed through it. Nearly all that quantity came from Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field and since the Azerbaijani oil production stopped growing after 2009, the prospects for ВТС full capacity operation are moving away in time. Initially, a lot of Kazakhstani oil was expected to enter the Ceyhan directed pipeline. From October 2008 till the end of 2009 the consortium developing Kazakhstani “Tengiz” oil field did actually directed small quantities of oil through the ВТС. However, form the beginning of 2010 these deliveries were stopped with the explanation that with the increase in the BTC this operation had become unprofitable. From the beginning of 2010 Turkmenistan oil was fed into the ВТС. It was 1,27 mln tons in 2010 and reached 2,24 mln tons in 2011[10]. BTC owners’ great hope is the long postponed start of oil extraction from the Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan. Four companies participating in the Kashagan oil project are also BTC shareholders and it is reasonable to expect them to direct their oil to Baku and further on – to Ceyhan. It is possible that in more distant future, after 2025-2030 the Kazakhstani oil transported through the ВТС will replace the Azerbaijani oil which will have been gradually exhausted.

The oldest international oil pipeline on Turkish territory is Kirkuk-Ceyhan. It was built in the distant 1970s, theoretically its capacity is 1,6 million bbl/d but the line usable capacity is no more than 300-400 thousand barrels per day. The technical condition of the pipeline is bad and besides it is permanently subjected to terrorist attacks. For example transportation of Iraqi oil through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline has been halted at least 13 times between November 2011 and April 2012 because of sabotage, bad weather and technical reasons[11].

However, in future the quantities of oil transported from Kurdish-controlled region of northern Iraq to Turkey will increase. According to the most optimistic expectations there might be more than 6 milliard tones (45 milliard barrels) oil reserves in the Kurdish region of Iraq and their most natural route leading to the world’s market is through Turkey.

The Kurdistan Regional Government plans to build a second oil pipeline from Kirkuk to Ceyhan that would open in 2014[12]. Calik Enerji, a Turkish company whose chief executive is the son in law of prime minister Tayyip Erdogan, has applied for permission to build an oil pipeline from the Iraq-Turkey border to Ceyhan[13]

Iraqi oil export through Turkish territory is an alternative decreasing the risks the oil transfer via the Strait of Hormuz faces. If in case of war between the USA/Israel and Iran the Strait of Hormuz has to be closed, the significance of the Turkish route of the Iraqi oil will seriously grow. Therefore the government in Baghdad is considering the possibility of connecting the oil fields in Southern Iraq with the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline. At the same time the central authorities in Iraq are hostile toward the growing collaboration between Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq which results in worsening of the Turkish-Iraqi relations.  

All things considered, Turkey have turned turn Ceyhan into the most important oil hub in the Eastern Mediterranean but failed in its efforts to redirect the transit oil flows from the Straits into the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline.

 

  1. 3.     Turkey and the geometry of the gas pipelines

For Turkey the natural gas is a comparatively new energy source. Ankara began to import gas from Russia (respectively the USSR) through a pipeline passing through Bulgaria in 1987. Gazprom esteemed highly the potential of the quickly growing Turkish market and only 10 years later concluded agreement with Botas for the building of a subsea gas pipeline to connect Russia and Turkey via the Black Sea. The gas pipeline, called Blue Stream, and amounting to 3,2 bln USD, was built in 2003. Its full capacity is expected to be 16 bcm per annum.

The gas deliveries through the Blue Stream are subject of constant disputes between Russia and Turkey. Therefore never more than 10 bcm annually have passed through the pipeline. The apple of discord is the gas price and the „take-or-pay” clause application.  Nevertheless the Blue Stream was what initially opened for Turkey the possibility of becoming a gas transiting country. For several years Ankara and Moscow negotiated an eventual doubling of the existing underwater pipeline capacity to 32 bcm annually and a subsequent building of „Blue Stream-2”, an underground extension the „Blue Stream” through Turkey and the Balkans to Austria.

From mid-2001 Turkey has obtained one more gas import pipeline. It starts at Tabriz in Iran and reaches Ankara. According a contract signed in 1996 Iran would supply Turkey with 10 bcm per year for a period of 25 years. The actual figure has been considerably lower: over the last ten years Iran has supplied a total of 47 bcm, less than half the agreed total[14]. The main reason for the disagreement between Tehran and Ankara is the gas price, take-or-pay clause and recurring cut-offs of Iranian gas supplies during severe winters.   

Through the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), delivering gas from Azerbaijan to the Turkish town of Erzurum, Turkey achieved a successful gas break-through in regard of the Caspian direction too. The building of the SCP was completed in 2006 but the first deliveries began in 2007 because at that time the regular exploitation of Shah Deniz gas field started. The pipeline initial capacity is 8,8 bcm annually with an option for its further increase to 20 bcm. Presently Turkey receives about 5 bcm Azerbaijani gas per year.

The three new gas pipelines connecting Turkey with Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan considerably enhance Ankara’s role in the international gas trade. During the first decade of the 21st century Turkey formed its ambitions to become a distribution center, directing Russian, Caspian, Iranian and Iraqi gas toward Europe and via the Mediterranean Sea even to Israel.

In 2007 Russia launched the idea of building South Stream, a new subsea pipeline which is to connect the Russian and Bulgarian Black Sea coasts. This new project is obviously in contradiction with the previous Russian-Turkish talks about the Blue Stream-2 and actually puts an end to the idea of Russian gas transit through the Black Sea and Turkey to Europe. Nevertheless even this new Russian project (in which the Italian Eni is to participate) depends to a certain degree of Turkey’s good will. The reason is that Ukraine would never permit the South Stream to pass through its Black Sea exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and therefore it is necessary for the pipeline to enter the Turkish EEZ. Ankara delayed its permission for the South Stream passage through the Turkish ЕЕZ for a long time trying to bind it with Russian companies’ participation in the Samsun-Ceyhan project. At long last, at the very end of 2011, Russia received the requested permission; in return Turkey obtained a reduction in the Russian gas price.

For a long time Turkey cherished hopes that it can become a stage in the route of the Iranian gas to Europe. Iran also desperately strives to find outlet to the European gas market either by means of the projected Nabucco pipeline or the fictional Persian pipeline, through which the Iranian gas would go as far as Germany, France and Spain. However, in the 2000s the American embargo belt around Iran gradually tightened, and by 2011-2012 it was obvious that not a single big European company would dare to get involved in a project Teheran participates in[15].

Thus by the end of the 2000s it was clear that the most realistic and short term prospect for turning Turkey into a gas transit passageway was connected with the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan.

Till 2008 it was considered that there would be no problem with agreeing the price of the bought by Turkey Azerbaijani gas and the conditions of its transit via Turkish territory as Ankara and Baku were close political allies. Actually the respective negotiations have been prolonged until 2011 and the energy supply relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan have had many turns influenced also by the zigzags in the political relations between the two states. For the period from April 2008 to November 2009 only thirteen rounds of the negotiations took place. One of the main causes preventing agreement was that Turkish side was unwilling to pay for the Azerbaijani gas at the regional market prices. Actually, the problems (to a degree unexpected) met at the negotiations with Turkey have induced Azerbaijan to seek other export routes for the Shah Deniz gas, or at least to open public discussions on such possibilities, thus aiming pressure on Ankara in regard of its negotiation positions.

Azerbaijan’s decision to start exportation to the Russian and Iranian gas markets was expression of its bitter disappointment with its key ally in the region. The complicated situation of its gas trade with Turkey pushed Baku toward launching on such exotic ides like the export of LNG/CNG through Georgian ports to Romania and/or Bulgaria.

Turkey had an important position at the negotiations about building the Nabucco gas pipeline – an ambitious project for transporting the Caspian gas to Central Europe. Turkish company Botas is a shareholder in it together with five other companies from Bulgaria, Rumania Hungary, Austria and Germany. However, as no company extracting gas in the Caspian region was among the associates, this shareholder structure proved to be unproductive. Originally Nabucco relied on gas from Iran and Turkmenistan, later on – from Iraq. However, Iran had to be excluded because of the American embargo; Turkmenistan too, as Turkmenistan gas cannot cross the Caspian Sea and Iraq simply does not produce enough gas to be able to export some. It became obvious by 2010-2011 that till the end of the 2010s at least no more than 10 bcm per year can enter the EU’s Southern Corridor. That was the end of Nabucco, planned to supply 31 bcm per year. Later on this project was transformed into Nabucco-West, a pipeline to start at the Turkish-Bulgarian border and reach Austria transporting the additional 10 bcm annually promised by Azerbaijan after 2017. But the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) which is to pass through Greece and Albania and end in Southern Italy is contending for the same 10 bcm.

The only sure thing is that whether the gas of Shah Deniz-2 would reach Italy or Austria it should at first unavoidably cross the whole territory of Turkey from Georgia-Turkey border to the Turkey–European Union border via Trans-Anatolia gas pipeline (TANAP). Presently Turkey holds 20% of TANAP while the remaining 80% are meant for the Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company (SOCAR) which however declares that it will decrease its share (but will keep not less than 51%)  in favour of ВР, Statoil and Total. According to Baku’s and Ankara’s plans the first gas flow will enter TANAP in 2018 (when Shah Deniz-2 production is due on stream). It is possible afterwards to scale up TANAP’s capacity to 16 bcm per year by 2020, 23 bcm by 2023, and 31 bcm per year by 2026, at an estimated cost of $7 billion for reaching the 31-bcm capacity[16].

Actually, besides Shah Deniz Azerbaijan has other gas fields which will be set into exploitation after 2020 but with TANAP’s capacity increased to over 25 bcm annually the pipeline will be feasible only if Turkmenistan gas will also flow into it. However, it can hardly happen in the course of the next decade.

With Turkmenistan gas or without it by the end of the 2010s Turkey will become a key gas passageway connecting Azerbaijan with the EU. Ankara’s accession negotiations with the EU are not going well and the gas transportation via TANAP will not be regulated according to the European Union's Third Energy Package

There is an important difference in the standpoint of the EU and that of Turkey in regard of the gas pipelines role. EU insists that they are to be supranational technical facilities to be used by any company that pays the relevant gas transportation fare. Turkey, however, views the gas pipelines as an important geopolitical trump card for the country through whose territory they pass. Besides, Turkey tries and succeeds to avail of its geostrategic position of a unique transit passageway in order to obtain lower prices for its gas imports from Russia and Azerbaijan. It is very important as in 2011 the energy supplies were 23% of the total Turkish import.

Commenting on Turkey’s participation in the projects for gas transfer to the EU Mitat Çelikpala pointed out that „a shift from projects that provide for cooperation with consumers to projects that aim toward collaboration with producers is obvious”[17]. It is right but this tendency did not originate in Ankara, it was imposed by the gas market situation in the Caspian-Black Sea region. The main reason for producers’ (Azerbaijan and the private companies participating in the Shah-Deniz gas extraction) increasing gravitas for that of the consumers (the EU countries) is that the available gas quantities are extremely insufficient for accomplishing all South Corridor projects. By the end of the 2000s it was obvious that a total demand for over 50 bcm (Nabucco+TAP+ITGI+AGRI) per year was against an offer of 10 bcm per year. In this situation it is reasonable that the gas pipeline positioning is to be dictated by the producers and Turkey should just take into account the new circumstances.

 

  1. 4.     Conclusions – Turkey as center of the energy triangle Black Sea-Caspian Sea - Mediterranean Sea 

According to Kemal Kirisci, for the surrounding world Turkey has turned into a „trading state”, emphasizing its economic independence[18]. It is precisely the point of view offering a most adequate assessment of Turkey’s activity in the oil and gas transportation and Ankara’s policy in regard of the energy-rich countries surrounding it.

The Turkish key opened the first non-Russian door for the energy supplies of the landlocked Caspian region. It was achieved with the USA’ support.

Having been closely bound to the West, after the end of the Cold War and especially after 2002-2003 Turkey turned into what the Foreign Minister Davutoglu defined as a “central country, blessed with multiple identities and a location at the heart of Eurasia. These identities yield a multidimensional foreign policy”[19].

In its energy policy Turkey seeks a balance between the West and Russia and never rejects any options for new projects even those coming from Iran, a country with which very few international players dare do business.

Owing to its multi-vector energy policy, Turkey is turning into a center of the energy triangle Caspian Sea-Black Sea-Mediterranean Sea. Its intensifying collaboration with the oil and gas countries like Russia, Iran, Iraq and the Caspian region republics inscribes within the cardinal change in the Turkish foreign policy which occurred after the cooling in the relations with the USA and the disappointment with the EU. The more the pipelines connecting Turkey with Azerbaijan are, the more interested in the lasting peace and stability in the Caucasus Ankara will be. Turkey’s more distant future objective is to assist in turning the Caucasus into an energy transit passageway for Kazakhstan oil and Turkmenistan gas.

At the same time the role of energy corridor is involved with certain risks for Turkey. The ecological problems, the most severe of them being the oil traffic through the Bosporus, come first. Besides, nearly all international pipelines on Turkish territory pass through country’s unsafe Eastern regions, where Kurdish rebels are active. That is why damages caused by rebels’ attacks happen very often. Finally, the geopolitical risks should be considered. They are connected with Turkey’s overestimating its strategic position at energy negotiations. 

The aim to turn the country into “an energy hub and terminal by using our geo-strategic position effectively within the framework of the regional cooperation processes in the period 2010-2914” is set in the Strategic Plan of the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources[20]. Turkey is on its way to accomplish this objective. It should be made clear though that presently the country is more of a transit passageway rather than an energy hub.

 

 

Reference List

 

Books and articles

Baran, Zeyno. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline: Implications for Turkey. In: Starr, Frederick and Svante E. Cornell. Editors. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline: Oil Window to the West. 2005.

 

Çelikpala, Mitat. The New Energy Politics of the Black Sea Region. Online Journal “Euxeinos”. Culture and Governance in the Black Sea Region. 6 (2012), pp. 23-27.

 

Cutler, Robert M. Iraqi Kurdistan plans oil pipeline to Turkey. Asia Times. May 24, 2012; http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NE24Ak01.html

 

Jackson, Alex. Turkey puts Pressure on Iran over Gas Prices. Natural Gas Europe, January 23rd 2012; http://www.naturalgaseurope.com/turkey-iran-over-gas-prices-

 

Kardas, Saban. Russia Joins the Samsun-Ceyhan Pipeline. Eurasia Daily Monitor, (2009) Volume: 6 Issue: 195; http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=35649

 

Kirisci, Kemal. The Transformation of Turkish Foreign Policy: The Rise of the Trading State. New Perspectives on Turkey, (40), 2009, 29–57.

 

Shaffer, Brenda. Energy Politics, Philadelphia, 2009.

 

Socor, Vladimir. Azerbaijan Drives the Planning on Trans-Anatolia Gas Pipeline Project. Eurasia Daily Monitor  (2012) Vol.: 9 Issue: 164; http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=39827

 

Ülgen, Sinan. A Place in the Sun or Fifteen Minutes of Fame? Understanding Turkey’s New Foreign Policy. Carnegie Europe Number (1) December 2010.

 

Documents and News Sources

BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2012; www.bp.com

 

Nabucco gas pipe consortium delays plans to include Iran in project . RIA Novosti. 23/08/2010; http://en.rian.ru/business/20100823/160310830.html

 

Iraq Pipeline Disruptions Threaten Reliability of Kirkuk Crude. Iraqi Business News, 25 April 2012; http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2012/04/25/iraq-pipeline-disruptions-threaten-reliability-of-kirkuk-crude/

 

The Republic of Turkey. Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. Strategic Plan. (2010-2014); http://www.enerji.gov.tr/yayinlar_raporlar_EN/ETKB_2010_2014_Stratejik_Plani_EN.pdf

 

Turkey’s Energy Strategy. EU Commission Report. http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/european_energy_policy/turkeys_energy_strategy_en.pdf

Turkey’s hopes growing in oil, gas exploration. Today’s Zaman. 23 June 2010; http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&link=213889

Turkey’s oil diplomacy with Iraqi Kurds, Financial Times, July 30, 2012; http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2012/07/30/turkeys-oil-diplomacy-with-iraqs-kurds/#axzz26X4kamj6

World Oil Transit Chokepoints, EIA, Aug. 2011; http://www.eia.gov/countries/regions-topics.cfm?fips=WOTC

 

Транспортировка туркменской нефти по БТД превысила 3,5 млн тонн. Rusenergy.com; 10/01/2012

Турция признала убыточность нефтепровода БТД. Rusenergy.com; 12/04/2011


[1] Turkey’s hopes growing in oil, gas exploration. Today’s Zaman. 23 June 2010; http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&link=213889

[2] BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2012, Oil, p. 11; Natural Gas, p.23. www.bp.com
[3] See for example: Turkey’s Energy Strategy. EU Commission Report. http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/european_energy_policy/turkeys_energy_strategy_en.pdf
[4] BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2012, Natural Gas, p.23; www.bp.com
[5] World Oil Transit Chokepoints, EIA, Aug. 2011; http://www.eia.gov/countries/regions-topics.cfm?fips=WOTC

[6] Kardas, Saban. Russia Joins the Samsun-Ceyhan Pipeline. Eurasia Daily Monitor, (2009) Vol.: 6 Issue: 195; http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=35649

[7] Shaffer, Brenda. Energy Politics, Philadelphia, 2009, p. 54.
[8] Baran, Zeyno. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline: Implications for Turkey. In: Starr, Frederick and Svante E. Cornell. Editors. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline: Oil Window to the West. 2005, pp.103-118; http://www.silkroadstudies.org/new/inside/publications/BTC.pdf
[9] Турция признала убыточность нефтепровода БТД. Rusenergy.com; 12/04/2011
[10] Транспортировка туркменской нефти по БТД превысила 3,5 млн тонн. Rusenergy.com; 10/01/2012
[11] Iraq Pipeline Disruptions Threaten Reliability of Kirkuk Crude. Iraqi Business News, 25 April 2012; http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2012/04/25/iraq-pipeline-disruptions-threaten-reliability-of-kirkuk-crude/
[12] Cutler, Robert M. Iraqi Kurdistan plans oil pipeline to Turkey. Asia Times. May 24, 2012; http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NE24Ak01.html
[13] Turkey’s oil diplomacy with Iraqi Kurds, Financial Times, July 30, 2012; http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2012/07/30/turkeys-oil-diplomacy-with-iraqs-kurds/#axzz26X4kamj6

[14] Jackson, Alex. Turkey puts Pressure on Iran over Gas Prices. Natural Gas Europe, January 23rd 2012; http://www.naturalgaseurope.com/turkey-iran-over-gas-prices-

[15] Nabucco gas pipe consortium delays plans to include Iran in project . RIA Novosti. 23/08/2010; http://en.rian.ru/business/20100823/160310830.html

[16] Socor, Vladimir. Azerbaijan Drives the Planning on Trans-Anatolia Gas Pipeline Project. Eurasia Daily Monitor Vol.: 9 Issue: 164; http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=39827

[17] Çelikpala, Mitat. The New Energy Politics of the Black Sea Region. Online Journal “Euxeinos”. Culture and Governance in the Black Sea Region. 6 (2012), pp. 23-27.
[18] Kirisci, Kemal. The Transformation of Turkish Foreign Policy: The Rise of the Trading State. New Perspectives on Turkey, (40), 2009, 29–57.
[19] Ülgen, Sinan. A Place in the Sun or Fifteen Minutes of Fame? Understanding Turkey’s New Foreign Policy. Carnegie Europe Number (1) December 2010, p. 5.
[20] The Republic of Turkey. Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. Strategic Plan. (2010-2014), p.29; http://www.enerji.gov.tr/yayinlar_raporlar_EN/ETKB_2010_2014_Stratejik_Plani_EN.pdf
© 2012-2019 VIA EVRASIA All rights reserved. site by: Св. Мирчева almanach "via evrasia", issn 1314-6645