ANKARA: Cold winter weather has forced Turkey to seek costly cargoes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for December as power demand soars, traders and energy industry sources said on Wednesday.
Turkey has imported two extra LNG cargoes from the spot market following five it has already ordered from Qatar, the world's largest LNG exporter.
One of the cargoes was purchased from Vitol at global market prices, a trader said, and was due to arrive in the western port of Aliaga on December 25.
"Obviously LNG cargoes are costlier than pipeline imports. But the timing of the tender as well as the prompt delivery meant Turkey had to pay a premium," one LNG trader said.
Turkey depends on imports for almost all of its natural gas requirements, estimated to hit 47 billion cubic metres this year and 52 billion cubic metres next.
The $60 billion energy bill Turkey had to fund last year is the biggest driver of its ballooning current account deficit.
Heavy snow and frost have pushed electricity demand to peak levels, causing widespread power cuts across Turkey over the weekend, including in cities such as Istanbul and the capital Ankara.
Traders said Turkey signalled it might tap the spot market more in January and February.
"They haven't booked any more cargoes for the coming months, but said they are likely to open tenders again in early 2014," another trader said.
Turkey buys natural gas from Iran, Azeribaijan and Russia. In addition to Qatar, it also purchases LNG from Algeria and Nigeria. (Reuters)