Turkey inks Iraq deals amid political tensions

Turkey inks Iraq deals amid political tensions

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey inks Iraq deals amid political tensions

Workers perform maintenance work at a facility at the Rumaila oilfield in Basra. REUTERS photo

he Turkish Petroleum International Company (TPIC) and the central Iraqi government have signed $350 million worth of deals for 40 oil drills in Basra, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said Nov. 2.

Turkey is in talks with Baghdad to open 7,000 other wells and cooperating with Iraq on such studies, he told journalists in Ankara.

“We are present in the whole of Iraq, without differentiating between the north, south, east, or west,” Anatolia news agency quoted Yıldız as saying.

TPIC, a sister company of the state-run Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklığı (TPAO), has already finalized drills in five Basra fields, he added.

Turkey is currently at political odds with the central government in Iraq, with the status of fugitive vice president Tariq al-Hashemi, who took shelter in Turkey, topping the disputed issues. An Iraqi court sentenced al-Hashemi and an aide to death for the second time on Nov. 1 on charges of masterminding a bomb attack on an Iraqi army officer.

The court in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil passed the sentence on al-Hashemi in absentia, who is currently in Turkey. In May, Interpol issued a worldwide alert for the arrest of the Iraqi vice president.
On the other hand, Turkey’s energy ties with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the north of the country are on the rise, with Ankara-based Genel Energy developing its search activities there with the acquisition of new licenses.

Tüpraş, a Turkish private company, is also buying a moderate amount of crude from northern Iraq via road freight.

Nevertheless, Yıldız said there was no significant increase in Turkey’s oil imports from northern Iraq.

No privatization plans for Botaş, TPAO

TPAO is considering taking part in a new round oil and search tenders in Iraq, Reuters has reported.
Turkey does not plan to privatize either TPAO or Botaş, the pipeline company, Yıldız said. Botaş will become a holding company and secure its size, but it will separate its domestic activities, he said.
The energy ministry is cooperating with the Treasury for the public offerings of these two companies, Yıldız said, adding that $50 billion worth of energy investments had been made in the last 10 years in Turkey and that 61 percent of this sum belonged to the private sector.

Power sector to liberalize

Turkey’s electricity generation has increased to 229 billion kwH and Turkey is now in a position where it produces more electricity than it consumes, Yıldız said, adding that the private sector was producing 61 percent of the total electricity power.

However, the ministry wants to increase the share of the private sector in power generation to 75 percent.

Yıldız said Turkey should make $5 billion worth of energy investments every year.

He also added that Turkey did not plan to decrease the amount of natural gas it imports from Iran, saying that no such demand had come from the U.S.