World Bulletin / News Desk
Mario Diel, the council's president, evaluated energy developments in 2016 in terms of future prospects and expectations in Turkey.
The president hailed the potential in Turkey's energy sector as one of the most attractive in the region and for Europe, and asserted that foreign investors will continue to invest in the country despite the negative incidents that Turkey experienced last year.
Recent global developments including the Brexit in the U.K., the U.S. presidential elections results and the weak Turkish lira have also impacted Turkey's economy and by extension its energy sector, Diel said.
"We could witness disruption in the electricity market as power plant owners struggle to pay their debts since most of them are financed either through U.S. dollars or on a Euro basis," he added.
Diel said, however, that these developments have been positively offset by the normalization of relations with Russia and Israel which will not only create new business and investment opportunities but also offer sustainable energy sources for Turkey and the region.
Speaking on behalf of the Energy Council in Turkey, he said that council members are not only satisfied with their investments in Turkey but have decided to make further investments.
"This year, we maintained our presence in Turkey and increased our trust in the future, Sani Tiryaki, head of Danske Commodities Turkey stated, while other members like EWE Holding Turkey, announced even additional future investments," he explained.
- Turkey supports energy sector in different areas
Diel welcomed the Minister of Energy and Natural Sources, Berat Albayrak's efforts and support in 2016 to help the energy sector and its investors to establish a sustainable environment to attract investment and a positive outlook for the future.
"The government's guaranteed tariffs in the renewable sector are still much higher compared to most European countries. New investments are highly welcomed and supported by several governmental incentives and less bureaucratic hurdles," he said.
He also explained that contrary to reports in western media, Turkish banks are still showing strong commitments and supporting investments in the energy sector.
"Foreign investors are still interested in the Turkish energy market due its growth potential and the importance of Turkey in the region," he said.
Diel surmised that mega projects like the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), South Gas Corridor, the TurkStream project which are already under construction or in the development phase, will strengthen Turkey as an important energy corridor and transfer the country through connections to important energy producing countries with Europe.
TANAP plans to transport 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas from fields in Azerbaijan into Turkey and then onto markets in Southern Europe, once operational in 2018.
The Southern Gas Corridor Pipeline project, that aims to carry Caucasian gas to Europe, is regarded as a project that will reduce Europe's over dependence on Russian gas and will provide the EU with diversification of energy sources.
The project will include three major pipeline projects: the expansion of the South Caucasus Pipeline through Azerbaijan and Georgia, the construction of TANAP across Turkey and the construction of the TAP through Greece, Albania and onto Italy.
Additionally, the TurkStream, which was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a 2014 visit to Turkey, is set to carry gas from Russia under the Black Sea to Turkey's Thrace region. One line, with 15.75 billion cubic meters of capacity, is expected to supply the Turkish market, while a second line is set to carry gas to Europe.
"Recent investments such as Turkey's first floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU) in Izmir in the western province of Turkey along with the planned increase in natural gas storage will increase Turkey’s competitive power in the natural gas market," he said.
"Iran will most likely be a bigger player especially in the gas market where Turkey will be again not only as one of the most important consumers but also as a transfer country to the western world," he stated.
The newly constructed railway connection between Baku, Tbilisi and Kars will boost commodity trading in the entire up to China, Diel said.
"Nevertheless, Turkey is the biggest market in the region with a still growing economy and is, despite all the challenges, a young, dynamic and demanding population located at one of the most important geopolitical regions," he added.
"We will contribute our know-how and experience in the market, not only for individual commercial interests, but also for a better future for the Turkish people," he concluded.