Liberalization Process and Legal Aspects of the Turkish Natural Gas Market

Eminoglu C.

ENERGY TECHNOLOGY AND VALUATION ISSUES, pp.147-164, 2015 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier


This chapter aims to study the liberalization process, legal aspects and especially reform plans of Turkish natural gas market with a critical approach. The natural gas market of Turkey is growing consistently. Although Turkey stands next to the important fossil fuel producing countries, its natural gas resources are very limited. Nevertheless, Turkey's geographical position is a key link between the world's largest energy resources and the European markets. Therefore the regulation and liberalization of Turkish Natural Gas Market is of not only national but also global importance. Currently, Turkey's natural gas market is in the early stages of liberalization. First significant steps regarding the liberalization of the market were taken with the Natural Gas Market Law (NGML) of 2001. Since then there has been a slow but gradual progress. The pricing strategy of Turkish governments, unrealistic targets of the NGML and capacity problems of the Turkish private sector are some of the important reasons why the planned liberalization stage could not be reached considerably. The legally unbundling of market activities and a significant decrease in market share of BOTAS, which is the state owned and market dominant natural gas company, are exemplifying the failed targets of the NGML. After 13 years of enforcement of the NGML, the law maker plans to reform the NGML in order to ensure the compliance with the EU regulations and to bring dynamism in the liberalization process. However, realistic targets and a change in the pricing policy of the government seem to be necessary in order to achieve a certain stage of market liberalization. It can also be recommended to take more effective measures to ensure a fair access to the natural gas transmission system for all of the market players. At that point the unbundling of market activities is indispensable. The unbundling of market activities can be carried out through different methods such as "a legal separation of transmission activities", "an independent system operator" and "an independent transmission operator." On the other hand, establishing and keeping strong energy companies will be necessary for Turkey in order to reach its long declared target of being an international trade hub for natural gas.