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US recognizes Türkiye’s vital role in European energy diversification

Türkiye has played a “very important role” in helping diversify European energy supplies, the U.S. State Department said Tuesday following recent reports that Ankara was in discussions on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal with American energy giant ExxonMobil.

State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said he had no additional information on potential commercial negotiations but added that the U.S. would encourage any country to “diversify its energy supply and curb dependence on Russian energy.”

“Türkiye has played a very important role as the host of the Southern Gas Corridor in helping diversify European energy supplies and European gas supplies away from dependence on Russia and as the host of multiple LNG liquification facilities, which have received a lot of American LNG since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion in Ukraine,” he said.

In an interview with the British daily Financial Times published on Sunday, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar announced that Ankara is in talks with ExxonMobil to buy LNG.

He said that as part of the deal, negotiations were ongoing with the Texas-based energy giant for securing 2.5 million tons of LNG a year at a cost of around $1.1 billion.

He added that the deal could last 10 years if the negotiations with Exxon are completed.

Noting that Türkiye imports almost all of its natural gas needs, Bayraktar said that it aims to create “a new supply portfolio” without being dependent on a single supplier.

Pointing out that Türkiye is evaluating gas purchase options from different sources to ensure the country’s supply security, Bayraktar said: “For security of supply, we need to get gas from somewhere. It could be from Russia, it could be from Azerbaijan, it could be Iran, or LNG options.”

Ankara will turn to the most suitable options, he added.

Türkiye has seven international natural gas pipelines, five LNG facilities, including three floating storage and regasification units (FSRU), and two underground natural gas storage facilities.

The country aims to become a key gas hub in the region, excel as an exporter and be an effective manager of the gas it provides.

While boosting its oil exploration efforts in recent years Türkiye has uncovered major fields in its northern Black Sea region as well as in its southeast but remains dependent on imports from countries such as Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran, as well as LNG from Algeria, Qatar, the U.S. and Nigeria.

According to the Financial Times, Exxon aims to expand its LNG portfolio to 40 million tons a year by 2030.

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