ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Despite strained relations between Turkey and Israel following the flotilla incident in May 2010, Turkish and Israeli business ventures continue full steam ahead as witnessed by Zorlu Enerji’s $277 mln natural gas investments in Israel
Zorlu Holding Chairman Ahmet Zorlu (second L) poses with Israeli Energy Minister Uzi Landau (third L) at the natural gas project financing signing ceremony in Israel.
The Ashdod and Ramat natural gas facilities in Israel
have been granted a loan of more tharn 1.1 billion Israeli Shekels ($277 million) by Israeli lenders, according to a Zorlu press release. Zorlu Enerji holds a 42.15 percent stake in the natural gas facilities and the remaining 57.85 percent stake is owned by Edeltech Ltd.
Zolru Enerji received 355 million shekels ($88 million) for its Ashdod natural gas facility and 766 million shekels ($189 million) for its Ramat Negev natural gas facility from Bank Leumi le-Israel and other lenders.
The parties signed the deals for the two facilities attended by Israeli Energy Minister Uzi Landau.
The chairman of Zorlu Holding, Ahmet Zorlu, who was also present at the ceremony in Israel, said Zorlu Enerji was continuing to invest in critical domestic and international ventures in the energy sector and was developing projects to make the company a regional power.
“We believe that our investments in Israel
are important steps in this direction. With this project we were able to secure financing for Israel’s first private sector-spearheaded cogeneration project. As Zorlu Holding we have invested more than $1 billion in Israel,” Zorlu said. He added that Ashdod and Ramad Negev would become operational within two years and that with the addition of the Dorad and Solad plants they would achieve 975 MW of power.
Israel’s energy consumption last year was around 46,000 MW.
The Ashdod and Ramat Neveg plants are being built to provide electric and steam power to energy-hungary Israel’s industrial facilities, according to Zorlu. The plants are located close to the region’s most important chemical zones, Makhteshim and Agan.
The Ashdod plant, once it becomes operational, will be able to provide 55 MW of electricity and 40 tons/hour of steam power. The Ramat Neveg plant will also have the capacity to provide 120 MW of electric and 70 tons/hour of steam power. Both plans are slated to become operational in 2014. Along with the Dorad and Solad plants, Zorlu Energy will produce 975 MW of total electricity in Israel.
Earlier this month Zorlu handed some of its share in both facilities to its Israeli partner, leaving its controlling position.
The ties between Turkey and Israel
are tense since May 31, 2010, when Israeli commandos attacked a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza, killing eight Turkish citizens and one American
of Turkish descent. However, business ties have remained strong since then.
Still, Israel’s recent energy ties with Greek
Cyprus also added to tensions. Israel
and the Greek
Cypriot government signed an underwater power transfer deal early in March. U.S.-based Noble Energy is searching for oil and gas off the Cypriot island, a move which triggered Turkey’s TPAO to start similar activities in and off Turkish Cyprus.