Turkey starts taking fresh soundings for large FSRU

New vessel could be the country’s third — or a replacement for its latest arrival

Turkish state-owned energy company Botas has made early-day enquiries for a large floating storage and regasification unit.

Market sources said the company has held discussions with shipbuilders about a vessel without giving full details on where it would be located.

Some said Botas could be tapping shipyards for Turkey’s third FSRU, which government ministers have said is planned for Saros Bay on the Gallipoli peninsula in the north-west of the country.

But others speculated that Botas could be thinking ahead to a replacement for its second FSRU that was officially welcomed last week and is scheduled to leave at the end of its three-year charter.

The 263,000-cbm MOL FSRU Challenger (built 2017), which is also able to re-export cargoes, docked at its new jetty in Dortyol port in Hatay province, on Turkey’s south-west coast.

Energy minister Berat Albayrak said the unit will offer 20 million cubic metres per day of send-out capacity.

44f26926a35d47304afcc252c5756fef Turkey's energy minister Berat Albayrak Photo: Scanpix

The FSRU, which was originally ordered by MOL for a project in Uruguay, arrived off the Turkish coast in November where the facilities at Dortyol were ready to receive it.

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Since the vessel's arrival, MOL has been successful in being selected as the preferred candidate to provide an FSRU for CLP Power’s upcoming LNG import plan for Hong Kong.

This project is due to start up in 2020, meaning the MOL FSRU Challenger will leave Turkey at the end of its charter. That would leave Botas potentially looking for a replacement unit.

Turkey is trying to diversify its energy supplies and reduce dependency on pipeline gas as demand rises and power shortages plague winters.

In 2016, the country fired up its first FSRU when the Engie-relet Neptune (built 2006) arrived in December to serve as the import unit for Etki LNG in Candarli Bay, near Izmir, on the Aegean coast.

The Etki LNG project is operated by domestic companies Kolin and Kalyon, which have contracted a 170,000-cbm FSRU newbuilding at Hyundai Heavy Industries for delivery in 2019.

At the time that project started up, Turkish government officials said two more FSRUs would be brought in to boost LNG import capacity. Turkey already has two onshore LNG terminals and is interested in becoming an LNG exporter to the local region.