Turkey’s Botas to start LNG bunkering by 2Q21

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Turkish state-owned gas firm Botas will start offering LNG for bunkering from its 4.6mn t/yr Marmara Ereglisi facility near Istanbul — Turkey’s largest bunkering hub — by the second quarter of 2021.

Botas is close to completing its infrastructure for LNG bunkering after having consultations with the bunkering committee of Turkey’s Chamber of shipping, committee chairman Mustafa Muhtaroglu told Argus. Botas was not available for comment.

Turkey-based Socar Marine is currently the only supplier of LNG for bunkering in the country. The firm, a subsidiary of Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil company Socar, has supplied a few newbuild ships with LNG purchased from Botas. Privately-owned Turkish gas firm Egegaz may also supply LNG by truck for bunkering in the future.

There is not much demand for LNG bunkering in Turkish ports at the moment as there are relatively few LNG-fuelled vessels. But the use of LNG as a marine fuel has increased this year since the introduction of the IMO’s 0.5pc sulfur cap on bunker fuels. LNG’s share in total bunker sales in the port of Rotterdam more than doubled on the year to 2pc in January-September, according to port authority figures. And LNG’s use as a marine fuel could also become more commonplace in the Mediterranean region in the next few years, with other LNG bunkering projects in the planning stages in countries such as Italy, Greece, and Egypt.

The Turkish bunker market is among the largest in the Mediterranean with sales of around 2.5mn-3mn t/yr. Bunker sales in Turkish ports increased by over 10pc on the month to 213,000t in August, according to the latest data from energy regulator EPDK.