Türkiye’s natural gas imports dropped by 7.64% in 2023, the country’s energy watchdog said Thursday.

Imports declined to 50.48 billion cubic meters (bcm) from 54.66 bcm in 2022, according to the latest annual gas report of the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK).

Of that, 71.73% came through pipelines, while 14.27 bcm, or 28.27%, was purchased as liquefied natural gas (LNG), the report said.

Some 66.39% of imports were made under long-term import licenses and 33.61% were purchased through spot markets.

Türkiye is almost entirely dependent on imports to cover its energy needs, which left it vulnerable to rising costs that surged following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Over the years, it ramped up its hydrocarbon explorations in the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean to curb external dependence.

Türkiye’s gas output rose by 112.55% to 807.28 million cubic meters in 2023, according to the EPDK, as the country launched production from a vast reserve off its Black Sea coast that will help the energy-dependent country meet its needs in the years to come.

Türkiye imported gas from 21 countries last year, ranging from 92 million cubic meters (mcm) up to 21.34 bcm.

Russia remained the biggest gas source with a 42.27% share, followed by Azerbaijan with 20.32%, Algeria with 11.86%, Iran with 10.71% and the U.S. with 7.95%.

Imports from Russia totaled 21.34 bcm. The least amount, 92 mcm, was purchased from Oman. Norway, Brazil and Mozambique also supplied natural gas to Türkiye.

Around 6 bcm of natural gas was imported from Algeria under a long-term LNG contract, while 4 bcm of LNG was imported from the U.S. and 1.32 bcm from Egypt on a spot basis.

Of the total imports, 90.45% were realized by the state pipeline operator BOTAŞ, 3.43% by Akfel Gaz, 2.77% by Bosphorus Gaz, 1.98% by Kibar Enerji, 0.97% by SOCAR Enerji and 0.39% by Ege Gaz.

At 11.95 bcm, Durusu, a district of Arnavutköy in the province of Istanbul, was the port of entry for the largest amount of gas imports.

Kıyıköy in the Kırklareli province followed with 8.6 bcm, TANAP Seyitgazi with 5.9 bcm, Gürbulak with 5.4 bcm, Marmara Ereğlisi LNG Terminal with 5.07 bcm, and Türkgözü with 4.36 bcm, while 3.74 bcm passed through the Egegaz Aliağa LNG terminal, 2.22 bcm through the Etki LNG terminal, 2.01 bcm via the Dörtyol FSRU terminal and 1.23 bcm through the Saros FSRU terminal.

According to the report, the highest quantity of gas, 6.63 bcm, was imported in December, while the least, totaling 2.33 bcm, was imported in June.

Türkiye exported 896.3 mcm of natural gas last year, of which 370.9 mcm were transmitted to Bulgaria through pipelines.

Greece followed with 216.6 mcm and Romania with 101.5 mcm.

Türkiye sent the most LNG to Switzerland, at 206.4 mcm.

Türkiye started pumping gas from the Sakarya field off the northwestern Zonguldak province into the national grid in September 2023 through a pipeline linked to an onshore processing facility.

The reserve is believed to contain 710 bcm of gas. The field was discovered gradually in August 2020.

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar, earlier this month said the output from the Black Sea reserve had reached 5.1 mcm per day, enough to meet the needs of 2 million homes.

The Sakarya gas field will meet approximately 30% of the nation’s annual gas need once the production reaches total capacity. Türkiye’s annual gas consumption exceeds 50 bcm.

The Black Sea output is aimed to be lifted first to 10 mcm before reaching 40 mcm in the final phase, enough to supply up to 15 million households.

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