Ammon – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan celebrated Thursday the delivery of the first shipment of natural gas to an offshore station from reserves discovered in the Black Sea, and promised to provide free natural gas to homes before the elections that take place on May 14.
The celebration is the latest attempt by the government to showcase huge energy and infrastructure projects in the run-up to the election, which opinion polls show Erdogan could lose after nearly 20 years in power.
“We will provide free natural gas for domestic consumption, up to 25 cubic meters per month for a year,” Erdogan said at the inauguration of a natural gas terminal in Zonguldak province in the north of the country.
He added that unlimited natural gas for domestic consumption will be free for the next month.
Natural gas was discovered for the first time in the Sakarya field off the coast of Zonguldak in 2020, and in the neighboring Chayguma-1 field last year, and since then the expected total volume of gas is 710 billion cubic meters.
Turkey has few oil and gas resources and relies heavily on imports from Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran, as well as LNG imports from Qatar, the United States, Nigeria and Algeria.
Erdogan said that ten million cubic meters of gas per day would be produced from the gas fields in the Black Sea initially. He added that production will rise to 40 million cubic meters of gas per day in the coming period.
Experts say that extracting ten million cubic meters of gas per day meets about six percent of Turkey’s annual consumption, which is estimated at sixty billion cubic meters, which gives a boost to the economy.
During the inauguration ceremony, which was broadcast live on Turkish television, Erdogan said, “It is a historic step on the path to the country’s energy self-sufficiency.”
“When production reaches the maximum level, the gas extracted from the Black Sea will cover approximately 30 percent of Turkey’s annual need,” he added.
Last year, Türkiye received 40 percent of its gas needs from Russia. Turkey also imports gas from Azerbaijan and Iran, knowing that Ankara is looking for ways to diversify its sources of supplies, especially after Russia launched what it calls “military operations” in Ukraine last year.
Inflation in the country reached 50.5 percent, while the exchange rate of the Turkish lira is witnessing a significant deterioration, which has led to a high cost of living that is difficult for most Turks to bear.
The presidential and parliamentary elections represent the biggest electoral challenge for Erdogan, after his approval rating declined due to the cost of living crisis. Opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu is ahead of Erdogan in opinion polls.
The government embarked on a series of massive infrastructure and defense projects ahead of the elections. Next week, Erdoğan is set to inaugurate Turkey’s first nuclear power reactor built by the Russian nuclear power company Rosatom.
Sky News Arabia