As  energy dependency   increases  in  Europe, Turkey and Italy found it necessary to cooperate on pipeline  projects to secure  Europe’s  energy supply and to increase  their role as transit countries in the Mediterranean and southeast Europe. At the end of the 1990s Italian and Turkish energy companies started to collaborate on  such projects as Blue Stream, Samsun- Ceyhan, and Interconnector  Turkey-Greece- Italy (ITGI). In these pipeline  projects-  both crude oil and natural gas- Russia has been a major player since it is one of the main energy- producing  countries  in the region and has a significant role in the energy policies of other energy-producing countries in the Caspian and the Caucasus. However, the competition among the regional countries in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean has decreased the effectiveness of the collaborative  projects of Italy and Turkey. Thus it is argued that there is an urgent need for cooperation at the regional level- especially between Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Ukraine and Moldova- in order to secure the energy supply, and to diversify the routes and resources.

Key Words

EU,  energy dependency, regional cooperation, energy production, consuming and transit countries.


Italian and Turkish energy needs and policies are somewhat similar as both countries are import dependent and situated at  important junction points in  the  Mediterranean and  southeast Europe. The energy-producing countries in the region, namely in the Caspian and Middle East, are separated from energy-consuming countries by natural boundaries, such as the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea. Therefore, Turkey and Italy are essential to link these energy-rich regions with energy-poor ones,  and  cooperation with each other and the other countries surrounding them  is  increasingly important since industry is becoming more and more dependent on natural gas, not only in Italy and Turkey, but everywhere in the European Union (EU). The EU attaches importance to regular dialogue and security of supplies in relations with energy-producing countries and regions. Thus, transit countries  are  increasingly important in maintaining  and sustaining  security of   energy   supply,   which   increases the importance of  countries in  the Mediterranean and Southeast Europe, and the importance of such projects as the Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy (ITGI) and Nabucco at the EU level. Also  the  EU’s  financial and  political support is needed for the construction of these pipeline projects, maintaining their security and sustaining the secure flow of energy.

Natural gas  is  an  important fuel for electricity generation in  European countries since it is less expensive than nuclear or  renewable energy sources.1 Also natural gas is preferred by developing countries as it is an efficient source of energy and  natural gas  pipelines are quicker to construct than other forms of energy infrastructure,2  although they need long-term cooperation agreements with the states where the pipelines pass. The largest natural gas  resources are located in the Caspian, the Caucasus, and Middle East and Mediterranean countries such as Russia, Iran, Qatar,

Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan and Iraq.3 The transport of natural gas from these countries to energy-consuming countries requires close cooperation, stable and  sustainable agreements among these energy-producing and the energy-consuming  countries, as well as with transit countries such as Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Greece and Italy.

In the light of these issues, this paper aims to  explain the needs and policies of Italy and Turkey regarding energy transport and natural gas and oil demand while focusing on the Italian and Turkish collaborative projects such as the Blue Stream pipeline, the Samsun- Ceyhan pipeline, and the ITGI project. In analyzing the energy needs of the two countries, the focus is on natural gas since there is a constant increase in demand for natural gas in industry and the daily lives of people in Italy and Turkey.