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Egypt emerges as key LNG supplier to Turkey in Q4

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Egypt emerges as key LNG supplier to Turkey in Q4

Highlights

Seven Egyptian cargoes shipped to Turkey since October

Nigerian LNG contract expired at end-October

Algeria, US remain dominant Turkish LNG shippers

Egypt has emerged as a key supplier of LNG to the Turkish market, with seven cargoes already shipped so far in the fourth quarter of 2021, data from S&P Global Platts Analytics showed Dec. 9.

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Turkey is set for record high gas demand in 2021 -- of as much as 60 Bcm -- on the back of strong consumption in the power sector.

At the same time, Ankara is facing the prospect of more of its long-term import contracts expiring in the near future after deals with Azerbaijan for pipeline supplies and Nigeria for LNG already timed out in April and October, respectively.

Turkey still has one long-term LNG contract in place -- with Algeria's state-owned Sonatrach -- that is due to run until 2024, but otherwise has been taking cargoes mostly from the US and Qatar.

However, since October, there have been regular shipments from Egypt's two LNG export terminals -- the 7.2 million mt/year Shell-operated Idku plant and the 5 million mt/year Eni-operated Damietta facility.

The new regular supply of LNG comes after Turkey and Egypt re-established formal diplomatic relations in early 2021, almost eight years after they were broken off following the military coup that ousted Egypt's first Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Relations were tense for several years with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly referring to Morsi -- who died in prison in 2019 -- as a martyr and describing his successor Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in 2014 as a "tyrant".

Egypt is not alone in being back in favor with Ankara. Turkey has also already mended fences with Saudi Arabia -- a regular supplier of crude -- and Erdogan last week hosted Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed in a rapprochement announced as heralding a new era of UAE investment in Turkey.

Ankara had long been at odds with both countries over regional political issues.

LNG prices

Turkey may well be looking to the LNG market to top up supplies through this winter.

Botas has held a number of tenders for spot LNG cargoes in recent months, and is believed to have secured some supplies although exact volumes and delivery dates are not clear.

Now is not a good time to be in the market for spot LNG, however.

The S&P Global Platts benchmark JKM spot LNG price is still trading at sustained highs having reached a record $56.33/MMBtu in early October.

The JKM front-month price was assessed on Dec. 8 at $34.57/MMBtu, a 288% increase over the same assessment a year ago.

According to recent disclosures by Turkey's central bank, Botas in late November bought $2.2 billion of US dollars, a move believed to be in order to cover rising gas import costs.

Turkey has also been offering more spot pipeline import capacity from legacy suppliers Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran as it looks to make the most of its pipeline links with key suppliers.