World Bulletin / News Desk
At present, Turkey purchases most of its natural gas from a single country, but this has to be diversified, he said at the IHS CERAWeek 2017 energy conference in Houston.
Out of the almost 50 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas Turkey consumes annually, around 55 percent comes from its northern neighbor Russia, while Azerbaijan and Iran are other countries that supply pipeline gas to Turkey.
Birol stressed that a significant amount of gas resources in countries around Turkey can be utilized, namely from Iraq and the eastern Mediterranean.
The executive director noted that Iraq is currently going through an unstable period, but once these difficult times are over, he said it will "enter a golden era" through its rich and low-cost gas and oil reserves.
Turkey can also benefit from gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean, Birol said.
"Economically, the most viable option for natural gas from Cyprus and Israel traveling to Europe is through Turkey," he said.
The executive director added that apart from pipeline gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG) from African and Asian countries could help Turkey diversify its sources.
"We will not put all the eggs in the same basket," he said.
Energy security was a topic that Birol also discussed with a focus on the importance of oil and gas storage to achieve this.
"Sometimes, unexpected things can happen in oil and gas. As a precaution, we have to stock our gas and oil, just like we deposit our money in banks," he said.
The director explained that Turkey has taken major steps towards gas and oil storage this year, and underlined the importance of the Salt Lake gas storage facility that opened last month.
The facility will increase Turkey's annual gas storage capacity from 1 bcm to as much as 5 bcm, and will enable the injection of around 40 million cubic meters of gas per day to Turkey’s gas grid.