Turkey’s Libya deal made global actors re-evaluate East Med strategies in 2019 - ERDAL TANAS KARAGÖL

Turkey’s Libya deal made global actors re-evaluate East Med strategies in 2019

It’s been a topsy-turvy year for the energy sector in 2019. Energy is, both in terms of the state and international relations, a vital matter of strategic significance.

Many of our neighboring countries are in possession of rich energy resources that Turkey does not. This situation, which has led Turkey to be highly dependent on foreign energy, at a great cost, constitutes a major problem for the country.

So, what were the prominent issues that arose in the energy field in 2019?

Efforts to decrease dependence on foreign energy resources continue

With the increase of Turkey’s energy demand and the price of global energy resources, the bill footed becomes higher and higher.

Furthermore, as economic growth increases, the price paid for energy imports also rises in proportion.

In this context, it has been ascertained that giving up economic growth has become a necessary sacrifice to prevent external deficits and current deficits caused by rising energy bills from becoming a threat to the economy.

On the one hand, the share of domestic, and primarily renewable energy resources in total energy consumption has been increased in energy supply security in order to solve the problem of chronic energy dependence.

On the other hand, the country has begun to diversify resources in the terms of natural gas.

A new era in the East Mediterranean

The East Mediterranean has been one of the hottest global topics this year.

The moves made in the region in 2019, especially as a new energy equation is being formed, will be talked about for years to come.

Not only countries that have a coast bordering the East Mediterranean or energy firms are present in the region. Hence, many countries’ existence in the region only makes it more strategic.

Turkey, which deployed its Yavuz and Fatih drillships to the region, is today continuing its exploration activities.

Of course, the most important development in this context would be the maritime border agreement Turkey signed with Libya.

With this deal, Turkey determined its East Mediterranean borders and also caused regional parties to re-evaluate their strategies.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that this deal is an important step in determining Turkey’s relations with other actors in the region such as the U.S., EU and Russia.

TANAP is now connected to Europe

In 2018, gas had begun being transferred to Turkey with the completion of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP).

This year however it was connected to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

TANAP has previously been connected with the South Caucasus Natural Gas Pipeline, the starting point of the Southern Gas Corridor, via Georgia.

It is expected that TAP will be soon completed, and Azerbaijani gas will be transferred to many European countries with Turkey being the conduit.

In other words, the Caspian Basin and Europe will become a single line with the Southern Gas Corridor.

TurkStream to be soon completed

The TurkStream project is about to be completed. The project which will transfer natural gas to Turkey and the EU, will be inaugurated in January 2020.

This project at first aims to transfer 15.75 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Turkey and then to EU countries.

In a nutshell, in 2020, efforts will be made in the sector of renewable energy resources and the East Mediterranean will continue to top the world’s agenda, as it did in 2019.

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