Turkish minister hopes UAE firm’s exit motives not political
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
I wish that TAQA [Abu Dhabi National Energy] company’s choices weren’t based on political reasons, Taner Yıldız said. AA PhotoThe Turkish energy minister has said he hopes the Abu Dhabi firm’s consideration to exit the coal-fired power plant project in Turkey were not “political,” adding Turkey had already started talking with other countries.
“I wish that TAQA [Abu Dhabi National Energy] company’s choices weren’t based on political reasons,” the Energy Minister Taner Yıldız told reporters, commenting on the several media reports that have claimed that TAQA, the state-owned oil explorer and power supplier, may exit the $12-billion energy project.
“It seems like the latest incidents in Egypt and Syria have put TAQA in a position to make choices about its energy investments from its perspective,” Yıldız said.
Even though the company said the main reason behind the decision was economic, there are some reports saying that there may be some political motives as the two governments’ views about the latest developments in Egypt are in opposition to each other. While the UAE maintains support for the Egyptian army, the Turkish government condemns Morsi’s removal as a coup against a democratically elected president.
Yesterday, Turkey Director of TAQA, Özgür Ülgin, said the project was only delayed, denying the withdrawal claims.
Talks with others begin
Yıldız didn’t clarify the latest decision of TAQA, but said either way Turkish government had already begun to seek other options.
“There is always B or C option. We will stand firm with our decision, whether TAQA will decide to delay investment in Afşin-Elbistan basin or will go ahead with it. We have started to talk with other countries,” he said.
Turkey’s state-owned Electricity Generation Co (EÜAŞ) and TAQA agreed in January on a project worth up to $12 billion to build several power plants using the lignite coal reserves of Turkey’s Afşin-Elbistan region.
After the intergovernmental agreement had been made in January, some progress was seen on the way to establish a partnership scheme. While 35 percent of the project was given to EÜAŞ, the remaining 65 percent was held by the TAQA.
The Afsin-Elbistan region holds about 40 percent of Turkey’s lignite and could provide up to 8,000 megawatts of power production capacity in southeast Turkey, if the coal potential is fully exploited, according to the Turkish energy ministry.