Will Russia be able to use the energy weapon? - ERDAL TANAS KARAGÖL

Will Russia be able to use the energy weapon?

The crisis between Turkey and Russia that started after the rule that has to be applied on whichever country violates the airspace was applied on the Russian jet has been going on.
The expressions made by Russia reached a new dimension after the package that was called the economic sanction was announced.

Russia has taken some decisions which it believed would work against Turkey in its commercial and economic relationships.

Will these decisions be a sanction for Turkey or Russia? The Russian economy has been going through a very hard period under the embargo applied by the EU and the USA.

In case the revenue generated from Turkey, which is its border neighbor and with whom it had close relations, an easy period will not start for Russia.
Also the trustworthiness of Russia, which has been having a troublesome period in the international arena, is damaged.

As the perception of national and international investors in Russia has been damaged each day, could Russia quit investments and ongoing trade with Turkey?

If the answer is "yes," the crisis in the Russian economy will get deeper.
Of course when Russia and Turkey are considered, the first question that comes to mind is: what will happen with energy, namely natural gas?

Will Russia take a step on energy?
Can Russia cut the natural gas?

When it is considered that Turkey is the second-largest country importing Russian natural gas, it is obvious that as much as Turkey needs Russia in energy, Russia needs Turkey as well.

Also as Russia had USD 492.1 billion exportation in 2014, 68 percent of this, namely USD 334.6 billion out of it was the revenue generated from the oil and natural gas.

In 2015, with the decrease in oil prices there has been a severe fall in the Russian economy.

In such a situation, could Russia risk losing Turkey, which has been a strong market for their natural gas and the chance to reach the other countries over it?

It does not seem possible.

Let's say Russia ignored the cost to its economy. It put international law, agreements and guarantees aside. Could it close the valves of the pipelines?

This is a very low possibility. Russia has already been quite careful since the first day of the crisis. But even if it is low, the existence of this possibility would lead Turkey for the policies it will follow in energy. This crisis showed that Turkey should bring new alternates to energy and should certainly guarantee energy supply security.

It is time to speak the alternates on the energy supply security

The first thing to be spoken on the energy supply security is the formation of the natural gas storage infrastructure.

The storage of the natural gas will remove the possibility of the energy cut because of the technical reasons, disagreements of the problems that may emerge between the countries.

On the storage the Liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals have a great importance.

BOTAŞ LNG that takes place in the LNG terminal in Marmara Ereğli Marmara Ereğli is active and has a capacity of 5 billion cubic meters.

Also, the first LNG terminal of the sector is in Aliağa with a capacity of 6 billion cubic meters.

Currently it is possible to store 1.8 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

The energy agreement President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed in the visit he paid to Qatar, will make LNG as one of the options that will provide energy supply security of Turkey.

Just because of this reason, we have be hurry to construct the new LNG terminals and storage stations.

Even if the cost will be high in the short term, in the long term the profits of Turkey will be more. In the LNG investments the cooperation between the public and private sector has to be provided and the way for the private importation should be opened. Especially at the times there is an energy supply security problem.

Besides the energy alternates, the natural gas flow will continue between Azerbaijan and Iran. Also the natural gas that will be transferred from the Northern Iraq Kurdish Region has a potential to meet resource need of Turkey for 50 years. When all these alternates are considered, Turkey can easily overcome Russia's move for restricting or cutting the natural gas.

That's why, in a term any possible sanctions of Russia on the natural gas it has been giving to Turkey is spoken, it is the time for Turkey to turn the crisis into an opportunity.

Turkey's look for the alternate on the energy supply security could bring a cost in the short term, but the cost for the Russian economy will be more, moreover this cost will not be for a short term.


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