The Pythagorean Theorem on the Triangle of Nationwide Blackout in Turkey, the New (Draft) Natural Gas Market Law and Energy Security

The magnitude was immense and the total loss and damage to the Turkish economy has not been measured to date.

Turkey’s natural gas demand has increased from a few million cubic meters to 46.5 billion cubic meters since the 1980s. The expansion of the natural gas distribution and transmission networks which enabled more and more consumers to use natural gas for household purposes, undoubtedly contributed to the expanded demand, as did the utilization of natural gas for electricity generation purposes. Currently there are 278 natural gas combined cycle power plants with a total installed capacity of 21.189 MW. In 2014, electricity generation plants based on natural gas and liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) ranked as the first resource of Turkey’s electricity generation, with a share of 47.84%. As a country almost entirely dependent on imported gas, Turkey produced only 869.1 billion m3 natural gas and consumed 45.270 billion m3 natural gas during the year 2013. Turkey imports 57.9% of its natural gas supply from Russia, 19.3% from Iran, and the remaining portion mostly from Azerbaijan, Algeria, and Nigeria.

The widening gap between the limited energy resources and the growing energy demand created energy dependency in Turkey. Mostly referred to as “the uninterrupted availability of energy resources at an affordable price”,6,7 energy security has been on the top agenda of almost all European countries. As per the date this article was written, it was also the top agenda item under the news in Turkey! Our nation faced a largely unprecedented power cut that began shortly after 10:30 am in Istanbul (07:30 GMT) which could be restored only later that day in the evening. There was naturally chaos and fear with people being trapped in elevators, and sometimes far worse, in the subway stations; the traffic lights were not working in various spots in Istanbul and Ankara; public transportation (relying heavily on the metro, tramway and the Marmaray underground line) was disrupted for hours; many factories in the cities had to go through a shut-down; and many patients in the hospitals were affected. The magnitude was immense and the total loss and damage to the Turkish economy has not been measured to date. There are also (currently) conflicting reports about the cause(s) of the outage as well. But the bottom line is that most were in fear as something that we all thought only happens in movies suddenly hit us all. Luckily, the outage was contained and the electricity was restored late the same evening, but “energy security” (whether with reference to supply security, physical and/or cyber security) has since been the daily conversation topic.