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Türkiye vital in Europe’s gas diversification strategy: Eurogas

Türkiye represents a significant component of the logistical puzzle that would allow Europe to diversify its gas import sources by serving as a gas transit hub, according to Didier Holleaux, president of Eurogas.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) on Wednesday, Holleaux noted that as part of the European Union’s goal to reduce gas imports from Russia by 2027, EU member states have already significantly cut imports of Russian gas to less than 50 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year.

This is in comparison with the 155 bcm before the Russia-Ukraine war, which was replaced with gas coming from other countries, notably the United States.

Nonetheless, to secure European gas supplies, he said that Europe needs increased cooperation with Türkiye in the context of the shift away from Russian gas.

He also stressed the need for Europe to secure more long-term contracts and reduce spot market exposure, especially in light of the growth seen in certain regions of the world.

“As a transport hub for gas, Türkiye represents an important part of the logistics puzzle that would allow us to diversify where we’re importing from. The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is a promising factor here, connecting Europe with gas from further east,” he said.

“The agreement between Bulgarian and Turkish companies to import liquified natural gas (LNG) through Turkish terminals is also welcome. Eurogas recognizes the importance of Türkiye in facilitating this supply, and we have already increased our engagement by officially welcoming our first Turkish member: the LNG and CNG Association of Türkiye,” he said.

He, however, reasoned that a close relationship with producing and transit partners is necessary to ensure political decisions do not stand in the way of jeopardizing the flow of gas and LNG.

Moreover, he hailed gas as a transition fuel in the quest to replace coal for power production and, to an extent, in the shift to renewables because he said the source could itself be renewable.

“For these reasons, gas is expected to form an important part of the energy mix for the foreseeable future. Not everything can be easily or cheaply electrified, so molecules will continue to play a role,” he said.

He also argued that Europe could begin to see emissions reductions in the short term by scaling up gas infrastructure as opposed to more carbon-intensive energy sources.

“On top of the relatively low-carbon applications of natural gas, we will also employ renewable gases through already-available gaseous infrastructure for additional reductions. By scaling up these renewable and low-carbon alternatives, gases will play their part in the energy transition alongside the other solutions being developed like electricity and geothermal, etc.,” Holleaux noted.

LNG and Europe

According to Holleaux, LNG imports represent a very important source of Europe’s energy supplies.

To accommodate LNG as the continent’s main supply source, member states have quickly delivered the necessary infrastructure to accommodate these new flows and have voiced concerns over the pause in LNG permits in the U.S., a move that Holleaux said reduces investor confidence.

Holleaux foresees LNG as a staple for European energy security given its dramatic reduction in Russian gas imports.

“To that end, we must ensure that Europe maintains its attractiveness for LNG volumes by providing stability and avoiding the repetition of the 2022 destruction of demand, which could lead to the destruction of economic activity that is potentially permanent,” he said.

He further stated that the European Commission’s ambitious 2040 emissions target for the key role of clean hydrogen in the EU’s energy transition – 20 million to 35 million tons of production, or up to 10% of final energy demand – may be met by increasing biomethane production and imports to a level of 35 billion cubic meters and 10 million tons of hydrogen, both of which Türkiye may be able to contribute to.

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