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Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak: “Turkey, Key for Energy”
Turkey sees energy as a peacemaker and a supporter of prosperity.
"Within this perspective, we introduce the motto 'share for peace'. Turkey is a reliable partner for energy projects. We will continue to support regional projects for security of supply. Turkey is a key and safe harbor for investments - a regional, reliable actor and key for energy. The country is providing a stable, predictable environment for investments," the Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak said at the 22nd World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Congress, Albayrak said that the oil and gas sector had and would continue to have an economic impact for decades to come, and therefore, investments in this sector are required for future energy security. The minister hailed the rising popularity of renewable energy while asserting that coal continues to be a crucial energy resource along with oil, natural gas and nuclear power.
"As you all know, oil and gas investments decreased due to low prices. On the other hand, projections tell us that oil and gas will meet around 15 percent of global energy needs in the near future," Albayrak said.
He praised Turkey's steps during the low oil price environment and said that despite rapid demand, growth in generation capacity tripled in the country. However, he warned that the continuation of security of supply remains critical.
"We ensured security of supply by providing sustainable market conditions and now we have begun focusing on oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea region," he said.
Work on LNG
Turkey consumes around 50 billion cubic meters of gas per year, Albayrak said. "Fifteen years ago we could provide gas only to five provinces, but now all 81 provinces in Turkey receive gas," he said. He added in order to ensure gas supply security, Turkey increased its LNG capacity and launched its first Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) in 2016.
"The second one will also become operational by the end of this year. Gas storage capacity is also critical for us. We plan to increase it also as an emerging market with political stability," Albayrak stressed.
Minister Albayrak Conducted Intensive Energy Diplomacy
Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, had bilateral meetings during 22nd World Petroleum Congress, with Rex Tillerson, the Foreign Minister of USA; Alexander Novak, the Energy Minister of Russian Federation, Sayf Muhsin Al-Sharif, the Minister of Oil and Minerals of Yemen; Daniel Yergin, Vice President of IHS Markit; Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, the Minister of Oil and Gas of India; Tulsi Tanti, Chariman of SUZLON; Mustapha Guitouni, the Energy Minister of Algeria; Leticia Deusina da Silva Klemens, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of Mozambique; Jozsef Toth, President of the World Petroleum Council; Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of IEA and Yuval Steinitz, the Energy Minister of Israel. Minister Albayrak also attended the meetings that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan realized with Van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell and Bob Dudley, CEO of BP. Albayrak said, “via this energy diplomacy conducted within the scope of the congress, we strengthen Turkey’s position as a key country for energy”.
Turkey a 'bridge' between energy producers, consumers
Turkey is a "natural bridge" between energy producers and consumers due to its geopolitical position, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.
Erdogan, delivering an address in Istanbul to the 22nd World Petroleum Congress -- a major meeting of the international oil and gas industry -- said the country was being referred to the “Silk Road of Energy”.
The Turkish president also said its external dependence on energy should be reduced to ensure sustainable development and the best use of its domestic resources. Erdogan said in order to meet an energy demand which could double in the next 10 years, Turkey will include an additional 50,000 megawatts of additional power to its system by 2023.
On nuclear energy, Erdogan said Turkey had started accelerating its investments. "When Akkuyu and Sinop nuclear power plants become operational, we will meet at least 10 percent of our energy needs from here," he said.
The Turkish president said the country wanted to start construction of the Sinop project "as soon as possible". Turkey plans to build three nuclear power plants, the first at Akkuyu in Mersin province; the second at Sinop. The third plant's location has not yet been announced.
Erdogan said Turkey wanted its energy to be “a source of peace and welfare, not destruction, tension and dispute". He also said the chaos and turmoil caused by terrorist organizations in the energy hinterlands made cooperation between countries a necessity. "The security of energy resources depends on the elimination of terrorist organizations," he added.
Great Opportunity Missed in Cyprus
Referring to recent Cyprus reunification talks which ended without without success in Switzerland, Erdogan said: “Unfortunately, a great opportunity was missed in the Eastern Mediterranean last week.”
Erdogan blamed the Greek Cypriot side for the breakdown in negotiations. He also mentioned the Southern Cyprus’s hydrocarbon explorations. “International law requires that hydrocarbon sources [in the island] belong to all parties in the island. “Our expectation from those who are part in the developments in Cyprus is to avoid steps that might lead to new strains in the region,” Erdogan added.
Despite disputes, the Greek Cypriot administration has continued to unilaterally open new tenders for hydrocarbon explorations without any collaboration with Turkish Cypriots. The Eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks, and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said: “As Turkey, the ultimate aim of our energy policies is to ensure the peace and well-being of our nation by increasing energy security, and its diversity.”
Yildirim said Turkey also gave great importance to the energy security of neighboring countries -- both their producers and consumers. "Energy security can only be ensured through a cooperative and coherent method of struggle," he added.
High-level executives from leading energy companies and up to 50 energy ministers will be attending the Istanbul congress.