Turkey, UAE sign deal for $12 bln coal accord

Turkey, UAE sign deal for $12 bln coal accord

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey, UAE sign deal for $12 bln coal accord

A coal-burning power generation facility in the Afşin-Elbistan region is seen. DHA photo

Energy-hungry Turkey has signed a landmark deal with the United Arab Emirates to develop its coal fields in the south with a giant project worth nearly $12 billion.

The deal between the Abu Dhabi-based, government-controlled TAQA and Turkey’s state-run electricity company EÜAŞ was a crucial, according to Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız.

“This is the second-biggest investment made in Turkey after the two nuclear power plant projects,” Agence France-Presse quoted the minister as saying.

The parties foresee the generation of some 85 million tons of coal annually, or 45 billion kWh every year. Some 15,000 people will be recruited during the construction phase and the facilities will provide jobs for 8,500 once finished, officials said.

The Afşin-Elbistan facility will be the largest among Turkey’s planned coal-burning facilities, as some 40 percent of Turkey’s lignite coal lies under the Afşin-Elbistan zone, according to the minister. “We will carry out clean and decent work there. A careful [project].” EÜAŞ General Manager Halil Alış said the current daily capacity of 2,800 MW in the area will be increased by up to 8,000 MW, or 8 billion square meters of natural gas.

Under the intergovernmental agreement, the project partners will modernize and expand the existing 1,400 MW Plant B and develop several new power plants and associated mines in sectors C, D, E and G of the region.

Preparatory work on Plant B and the feasibility study for the planned 1,440 MW Plant C and associated mine development will start immediately.

 “The Turkish economy has been doing very well over the years ... because you have a good investment climate. If you have a good investment climate, we’ll come and invest,” U.A.E Energy Minister Mohamed Bin Dhaen al-Hamli said at the ceremony, noting that the deal will carry on ties between the two countries.

Nuclear bids

Diversifying energy feed is vital for Turkey, as the country is largely dependent on Russian-supplied gas for power generation. The government, which has already solidified agreements with Russia for the construction of a nuclear plant in the southern province of Mersin, is seeking a partner for a second one in the Black Sea province of Sinop. South Korea, which is one of the short-listed candidates for the plant, will reportedly cooperate with the U.E.A if it wins the tender. However, Yıldız said not providing a government financing guarantee was among Turkey’s reservations, as South Korea insists on such a promise.