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‘Turkey will not backpedal on KKTC oil and gas drilling’

Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız told reporters on Friday in İstanbul that the country would consider no change to its land and sea oil exploration studies in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC). Greek Cyprus had expressed opposition to the exploration and drilling around the KKTC, claiming this would be illegal because they do not recognize the KKTC.


Speaking at the press meeting at the at the World Energy Leaders Summit in İstanbul, where ministers from nine countries, 35 international firms and two international banks were present, Yıldız said, “We have been using energy as a means for a resolution of the conflict and the drillings will begin no matter what.

We have provided the Greek Cypriot administration with electricity in the past when they had a power problem and we will continue to do so.” Noting that Turkey conducts projects in the KKTC within the framework of international legal procedures, he said, “The Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) has received a license to operate in the KKTC which will certainly be used and drilling will begin soon.” He added, “We also had prepared a master plan to distribute electricity to the whole island and have introduced the plan to the Greek Cypriot administration as well.”

TPAO will launch oil and natural gas land drilling initiatives in the KKTC at the end of April. On Sept. 21, 2011, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and KKTC President Derviş Eroğlu signed an agreement in New York City on the delineation of the continental shelf between the two countries in the eastern Mediterranean. Under the agreement, TPAO will more actively be able to carry out three-dimensional seismic research and drilling in KKTC land and territorial waters. The agreement followed a Greek Cypriot move to start offshore drilling for natural gas and oil in the southeastern part of the Mediterranean island.

Yıldız said Turkey is willing to carry out joint energy projects with China, noting currently there are plans for possible cooperation on nuclear, charcoal, wind and solar energy with the country. “We held a significant meeting with one of the Chinese companies that came to Turkey last week and we will send a technical delegation headed by a ministry undersecretary to China, where the details will be discussed next week.” Explaining that there are many opportunities for cooperation between both countries due to parallel growth in the speed of their economy, he said, “Turkey has the financial capability to invest $70 billion in projects that will contribute to our efforts to provide energy using domestic resources and I believe we can achieve some of these projects with China.” The minister added, “It is possible to realize these projects without compromising on international environmentalist principles and the prevention of climate change.”

In addition, Yıldız said the International Energy Agency estimates that global energy investments will reach $38 trillion by 2035 and added that Turkey is making its plans accordingly. Highlighting the fact that Turkey attracts attention as a country that promises a stable political and economic future,” he said, “There must be an investment of $130 billion in energy by 2023 for Turkey to reach its goals and we have made contacts with about 100 participants [and potential investors] at the summit.” He added, “Turkey has built a game plan that includes all possible east-west and north-south crude and gas pipelines with relevant producers and consumers.”

World Energy Council (WEC) Chairman Pierre Gadonneix stressed that energy issues dominate the agenda of many countries in the world and these will continue to be some of the key topics on the agenda of governments as prices fluctuate and uncertainty continues. Noting that countries determine their strategies depending on their natural resources and climate conditions, he explained that three main targets should be: “security of energy supply,” “increasing environmental quality” and “providing access to supplies.” He emphasized that even though each country has a different strategy, they all share the same target and need more cooperation in order to achieve these targets. Pointing out that emerging economies such as China and Turkey contribute to 90 percent of growth in energy markets, Gadonneix said the energy subject has transformed from being a national issue to a global issue.
Canada joins candidates to build Turkey’s 2nd nuclear power plant

Yıldız also announced that the state-owned Electricity Generation Holding Company (EÜAŞ) and the Canadian company Candu Energy signed an agreement to carry out a six-month feasibility study for a nuclear power plant in the province of Sinop in the Black Sea region.

Noting that Turkey has been taking all the proposals very seriously regarding energy projects, Yıldız said, “Today’s deal underlines the country’s strong commitment to increase nuclear power.” Explaining that Turkey also continues talks with South Korea, Japan and China to build a nuclear power plant in Sinop, he said the after the talks been completed, Turkey will decide which country it will build the plant with.

Senior vice president of Candu Energy Ala Alizadeh also said that his company has been interested in the Turkish market for many years and this agreement marks the first step of its commitment to provide Turkey with its technology. “We also have the right international partners for cooperation in conduct our feasibility studies in economic, environmental, technical and financial matters which we will share with the Turkish Ministry after completing them in six months.”

Turkey had already sealed a similar deal with Russia’s nuclear engineering company Atomstroyexport, which will build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant in the Mediterranean port of Mersin in the Akkuyu area.

The World Energy Leaders’ Summit was organized by the WEC and held in China, Canada and Brazil in previous years. The summit in İstanbul is the fourth and it acknowledges the strategic role played by Turkey in today’s regional and global energy security. It will center around the theme of “delivering tomorrow’s energy in a context of high uncertainty.” It will offer a high-level platform for energy leaders from 33 countries, representing all forms of energy and governments, to discuss the key issues and explore solutions to overcome the “energy trilemma” and to secure stable, affordable and environmentally sensitive systems.


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