No privatizations ahead in major dams, says Turkish energy minister

No privatizations ahead in major dams, says Turkish energy minister

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
No privatizations ahead in major dams, says Turkish energy minister

The Turkish government doesn’t plan to take major dams, including yje Keban dam (P), the Atatürk dam and the Karakaya dam, into its privatization plan, said Energy Minister Taner Yıldız at the annual assessment meeting.

Turkey will not include the largest hydropower plants in the privatization plan, even though investors have offered up to $20 billion to buy one of them, said Energy Minister Taner Yıldız Dec. 30.

“We are not privatizing the country’s major dams, including the Atatürk, Keban and Karakaya dams in eastern Anatolia. We will not privatize a number of other dams on the rivers of the Euphrates, Tigris and Kızılırmak, the longest of the country,” he said at the annual assessment meeting.

Turkey will not privatize these huge dams even though some investors offered to pay $20 billion for the Atatürk dam and $10 billion for the Keban dam, he said.

“Almost all gas-powered plants will be privatized in the coming two years,” he added.

Yıldız also said Turkey might talk on what stakes the country will take for the facilities that are planned to be constructed in Thrace for the Turkish Stream project.

“This issue matters a lot to us. Around a 250 km-long pipeline and the complementary facilities will be built there. After the pipeline enters into the Turkish border, we will talk about the nature of Turkey’s partnership in the pipeline,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Dec. 1 that the South Stream pipeline project is closed, and he gave the signal for another pipeline through Turkey to Europe, which has since been called the “Turkish Stream” in several media outlets.

Yıldız said Turkey’s natural gas consumption in 2014 increased to 48 billion cubic meters (bcm), adding that in 2015 this figure is expected to reach 51 bcm.

He noted Turkey continued to pay the highest to Iranian gas in 2014.

“Everybody knows this from all market players, to European countries and arbitrators. It is quite normal to ask to lower this price to more reasonable levels. … We are now waiting for the announcement of the independent arbitration board’s decision on the behalf of Turkey,” he said.

Turkey is trying to increase power production from coal instead of natural gas – no incentives will be available for new natural gas thermal plants, he said.

“Turkey has to increase its power generation from coal like Germany and other industrialized countries have done; therefore, we will shift incentives available for the gas plants to new coal plants,” he said.

Turkey will start drilling in the Black Sea with oil corporation Shell in the first months of the new year, he said.

Turkey will also drill for hydrocarbons in different parts of Turkey using unconventional drilling methods in cooperation with the American multinational corporation Halliburton, he added.          

The minister said a total of $1.1 billion was being invested in oil-and-gas exploration in Turkey.

“The Turkish Mining Directorate’s three dimensional seismic ship will be launched within the first days of the new year and it will be in operation in the second half of 2015,” he said. He added that the seismic ship was produced domestically.

About Iraq, the minister said Turkey desired stability in Iraq and added that the dispute between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Baghdad administration was resolved.

The export of KRG oil through the Turkish port of Ceyhan without the consent of the federal Iraqi government had strained ties between Arbil and Baghdad, triggering a legal wrestle in international courts that included the U.S. and Paris-based arbitration courts.

He said 32.2 million barrels of oil were loaded from the Ceyhan port and around $2.5 billion income was generated.

He also added that 3.2 million barrels of oil from the Oil Marketing Company of Iraq was sold via Ceyhan port, of which 520,000 barrels was bought by Tüpraş.