The map above shows gas pipelines that currently supply Turkey and Europe (solid line) along with potential pipeline projects (broken line). The TIGER EWI- simulation model is based on this information. With the help of this model, different scenarios concerning the natural gas supply of Turkey can be evaluated and compared.
Today, Turkey is connected to gas fields in Iran and is supplied by natural gas from Azerbaijan. The major gas supplier, however, is Russia. The Blue Stream Pipeline starts in Russia and follows a course through the Black Sea. Another important transport route for Russian gas runs through Ukraine, Rumania and Bulgaria. Additionally, Turkey owns two terminals for the import of liquid natural gas (LNG) as well as storage gas tanks that help to compensate for the fluctuating demand in summer and winter months. EWI's TIGER simulation model considers all of this information in its analysis.
In addition, the map also shows potential pipeline projects. These projects are either already in the planning stages or else would be necessary in order to connect larger gas producing plants, such as the Leviathan Field at the core of Israel, as well as gas fields in Azerbaijan or in Iraq.
Should some of the planned connections be realized, Turkey could become, from an economic point of view, an energy hub, meaning an important hub for the European gas supply. However, another planned pipeline project, the South Stream Pipeline, could have considerably weakened Turkey's status as a transit country. This pipeline would have transported Russian gas directly to Europe, bypassing Turkey. In December 2014 Russian President Putin announced that he was not willing to pursue the South Stream Project any further. Instead, Russia is planning another pipeline for Russian gas to Turkey called "Turkish Stream".
The results of the TIGER model shed light on the economic gain of possible infrastructure expansions, including the consequences they would have for gas flow to Europe, as well as for the European supply security. However, an important question is whether geopolitical factors would even allow for the realization of the pipeline projects at all. Factors include the difficult political situation in the Caucasus, those in other spheres of Russian influence, the political developments in Iran and Iraq, and, last but not least, the geopolitical interests of the USA. These factors will determine Turkey's potential to become an energy hub in the future. Interdisciplinary research groups of economists and political scientists are working closely together on these issues. The political scientists are expanding the results of the model around geopolitical determinants.