Participation of Russian companies in Turkey’s strategic gas storage program was at the top of the energy agenda during President Putin’s visit to the country on 2-3 December, said Turkey’s Energy Minister, Taner Yildiz. Speaking on 8 December, he said that by 2019 Turkey plans to construct five to six new underground facilities which can hold 8 bcm, equivalent to almost 18% of 2011’s domestic demand. Turkey’s gas demand has jumped by almost 50% since 2006, driven primarily by its use as a fuel for electricity production. It reached a record level of 45.7 bcm last year.

Turkey has only one operating underground storage facility with a 2.66 bcm capacity, of which 2.1 bcm is reserved for the country’s dominant gas trader Botaș. The remaining 0.566 bcm will be allocated to the country’s emerging private gas traders, such as Bosphorus and Kibar Gas Company. Last month they won major long-term contracts to import up to 6 bcm/year of Russian gas through a Soviet-era gas pipeline that connects Ukraine with Turkey after crossing through Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria (MEES, 30 November). (CONTINUED - 389 WORDS)