Investors may pour $12 bln into coal fields

Investors may pour $12 bln into coal fields

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
The Afşin-Elbistan coal fields in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş will attract between $10 billion and $12 billion in investments without the Treasury guarantee, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said yesterday.

“A new power plant that will be established in this region will help cut nearly $1.2 billion worth of natural gas imports,” said Yıldız, speaking at a signature ceremony for a joint power plant by Abu Dhabi-based TAQA and state-run power company EÜAŞ in the province.

The coal reserves in Afşin-Elbistan will be put to use for electricity production as part of efforts to decrease energy imports, he said. Energy imports account for a large part of Turkey’s current account deficit.

“The Afşin-Elbistan coal field, with 4.4 billion tons of reserves, makes up nearly 10 percent of Turkey’s lignite reserves. There is a potential to build new power plants with a total installed capacity of 8,200 megawatts,” Yıldız said.

“Today’s agreement will in fact be a joint statement, which will show the public our willingness to realize the project … We hope to complete the agreement within two-and-a-half months, assigning our institutions to this task. Other countries and companies can place bids,” he said, adding that the bids placed for the coal field were more attractive now compared with four years ago, he added.

Every country has advantages and disadvantages and in the case of Turkey, the country has coal resources, Yıldız said. “We will put 17,000 megawatts of coal-burning power plants into use by 2013.

Meanwhile, Hamad al-Hurr al-Suwaidi, the chairman of Abu Dhabi’s department of finance, said in his speech at the ceremony that Turkey had a mature and stable energy sector and that the country’s energy demand was increasing every day. TAQA operates an installed capacity of more than 16,000 megawatts in 13 countries, he added.