As a major buyer of Russian natural gas, Turkey is known for its considerable import volumes and impressive consumption growth rates. Russia and Turkey are linked by the Blue Stream gas pipeline. In addition, the TurkStream gas pipeline is currently under construction.
Figures and facts
In 2017, Gazprom accounted for over 52 per cent of all gas consumed in Turkey.
Length of the Blue Stream gas pipeline: 1,213 kilometers.
Planned length of the TurkStream gas pipeline’s offshore section: over 900 kilometers.
Beginnings of cooperation
Russian-Turkish cooperation in the gas sector dates back to 1984 when the Governments of the Turkish Republic and the Soviet Union signed the Agreement on natural gas supplies to Turkey.
The first long-term contract for gas deliveries to Turkey was inked in 1986 with Botas.
Turkey’s blue fuel demand grew at a fast pace, prompting Russia to ramp up its gas exports. Eventually, a need emerged to build a gas pipeline that would connect the two countries. To that end, it was decided to construct the Blue Stream gas pipeline.
On December 15, 1997, Russia and Turkey signed an Intergovernmental Agreement. Within the framework of that Agreement, Gazprom and Botas entered into a 25-year commercial contract for 365 billion cubic meters of gas to be delivered to Turkey via the Blue Stream gas pipeline.
In February 1999, Gazprom and Italy’s Eni inked the Memorandum of Understanding to jointly implement the Blue Stream project.
The construction of Blue Stream was completed in December 2002. The commercial supplies of gas via the pipeline started in February 2003.
On December 6, 2004, Gazprom and Botas signed the Memorandum to advance their cooperation in the gas industry. The document provided for the possibility to deliver Russian gas to Turkey directly or through subsidiaries, reaching end consumers, and the participation in projects aimed at building gas supply infrastructure, distributing gas, and developing underground gas storage and gas-fired generation capacities across Turkey.
In 2007, Gazprom Export signed contracts with four private companies with rights to import gas to Turkey. That was in accordance with the Turkish Natural Gas Market Law seeking to liberalize Turkey’s gas market and gradually end Botas monopoly rights over gas imports.
In March 2014, total gas supplies to Turkey via the Blue Stream gas pipeline exceeded 100 billion cubic meters.
The current agenda is to construct TurkStream, a new transit-free gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey. TurkStream will substantially enhance the reliability of gas supplies to Turkey, as well as southern and southeastern Europe.