Donmez recalled that he traveled to Indonesia to attend G20 energy ministers gathering two months ago, where he had talks with officials.
“Both Indonesia and Malaysia said they could deliver natural gas to our country. They may also send natural gas to the European markets from here. We are offering them such an option,” Donmez said in an interview on a private broadcaster.
Türkiye has become the center of attention of gas suppliers, the minister added.
“[Petroleum Pipeline Corporation] BOTAŞ receives offers from international suppliers when it goes out to make deals to procure gas. We receive natural gas from 15 countries. This is enough resources to become a distribution and trade hub,” Donmez said.
Türkiye presently has natural gas storage facilities with 6 billion cubic meters, but this will increase to 10 billion cubic meters in two years, Donmez added.
“When Türkiye becomes a gas hub, other countries will want to transfer gas to our country via pipelines. There is demand for this. Our region is having an energy crisis. Türkiye may become an important player.”
They are planning to organize an international natural gas conference in Istanbul in early February, which will bring ministers from the countries which supply gas and from those which are buyers of natural gas, Dönmez also said. “This issue will be discussed in detail [at the conference].”
The minister also said they told countries, such as Egypt and Israel, which discovered gas in the eastern Mediterranean, that they would transfer and market their natural gas in Türkiye when it becomes a hub.
“This will be a transparent and reliable market. We will use all instruments to create a market that protects the rights of both suppliers and buyers.”
The Turkish government started doing technical works as well as legal and commercial assessments for building a natural gas center on its soils upon the proposal of Russia, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said earlier this month.
Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanged a phone conversation on Nov. 18. One of the issues on the leaders’ agenda was Putin’s proposal to turn Türkiye into a regional natural gas hub to deliver Russia’s gas to European countries.
Erdoğan thanked Putin for this proposal and informed the Russian leader that the teams tasked by the Turkish government would handle technical works and make assessments on legal and commercial aspects of the project.
Dönmez reiterated that the natural gas from the Black Sea field would be pumped into the national grid next year as planned.
He noted that Türkiye imports 99 percent of the natural gas it consumes. “When the gas from the Black Sea is put into use, our foreign dependency [on natural gas] will decline to around 70 percent.”