25 Aralık 2012 Salı

Asian bids 'closer' to winning Turkey's 2nd nuclear plant project

AA photo
Project image from Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant of Turkey

Hurriyet Daily News

Asian countries are closer to winning a bid to build Turkey's second nuclear power plant near the Black Sea city of Sinop, the Turkish energy minister said on Tuesday, in a signal that Canada was no longer in the running.

"Even though we have not reached a final agreement right now, I can say that Far Eastern countries are closer" to winning the tender on the building of a second reactor, Taner Yildiz was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. Ankara is officially in negotiations with China, Japan, South Korea and Canada to build the second nuclear reactor. The government plans to build three nuclear power plants within five years in hopes of preventing a possible energy shortage and reducing dependence on foreign energy supplies.

Turkey struck a deal with Russia in 2010 to build the country's first power plant at Akkuyu in the southern Mersin province.

Yildiz said Tuesday that there was no agreement yet on the location of a third reactor but added that the town of Igneada in the Black Sea region near the Bulgarian border was one of the options.

Source: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/asian-bids-closer-to-winning-turkey-nuclear-plant-project.aspx?pageID=238&nID=37612&NewsCatID=348

21 Aralık 2012 Cuma

The New Mediterranean Oil and Gas Bonanza Part II: Rising energy tensions in the Aegean—Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria

F. William Engdahl      Global Research

The discovery in late 2010 of the huge natural gas bonanza off Israel’s Mediterranean shores triggered other neighboring countries to look more closely at their own waters. The results revealed that the entire eastern Mediterranean is swimming in huge untapped oil and gas reserves. That discovery is having enormous political, geopolitical as well as economic consequences. It well may have potential military consequences too.

Preliminary exploration has confirmed similarly impressive reserves of gas and oil in the waters off Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and potentially, Syria.

Greek ‘energy Sirtaki’ 

Not surprisingly, amid its disastrous financial crisis the Greek government began serious exploration for oil and gas. Since then the country has been in a curious kind of a dance with the IMF and EU governments, a kind of “energy Sirtaki” over who will control and ultimately benefit from the huge resource discoveries there. 

In December 2010, as it seemed the Greek crisis might still be resolved without the by-now huge bailouts or privatizations, Greece’s Energy Ministry formed a special group of experts to research the prospects for oil and gas in Greek waters. Greece’s Energean Oil & Gas began increased investment into drilling in the offshore waters after a successful smaller oil discovery in 2009. Major geological surveys were made. Preliminary estimates now are that total offshore oil in Greek waters exceeds 22 billion barrels in the Ionian Sea off western Greece and some 4 billion barrels in the northern Aegean Sea. [1] 

Iraq, Kurds, Turks and oil: A tortuous triangle

The Economist

The governments of Turkey, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan play a dangerous game

SNAKING their way from Kirkuk, a city 240 kilometres (150 miles) north of Baghdad, through Kurdistan and across Turkey’s eastern region of Anatolia to the Mediterranean are pipes that once carried 1.6m barrels a day (b/d) of Iraqi oil to the global market and yielded fat transit fees to Turkey along the way. The infrastructure underpinned the two countries’ mutual dependence. But nowadays the balance of power has shifted. A third party, the Iraqi Kurds, has changed it. It is unclear who will emerge on top. But Iraq’s central government in Baghdad is on the defensive.

Wars, saboteurs and, since the 1990s, economic sanctions have left the Iraqi sections of the pipeline system in a mess. Barely a fraction of its capacity is used. One of the two parallel lines stands empty and the source that once fed them, the giant Kirkuk oilfield, is dilapidated. The oil ministry in Baghdad has vague ideas about revamping the pipeline, perhaps to carry crude extracted near Basra, in the far south, though this would need an expensive new pipeline to link both ends of the country.

But Turkey is hatching a different plan for its section of the Kirkuk-to-Ceyhan pipeline. Its souring relations with the government in Baghdad have spurred it to cultivate new ties with the Iraqi Kurds’ regional government in Erbil, which oversees the oil and gas that Turkey’s growing economy craves. A wide-ranging energy deal is in the works that will see state-backed Turkish firms and Western oil majors plough money into Kurdish infrastructure and oilfields, connecting them to Turkey and the world beyond. The deal could eventually allow for up to 2m b/d of Kurdish oil exports to go through Turkey.

Last year, trade between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan amounted to $8 billion. Turkish money has paid for pristine airports in Erbil and Dohuk, an Iraqi Kurdish city further north, and for other large projects. Not long ago, Turkish politicians, wary of their own large and restless Kurdish minority still fighting for autonomy (or more) in eastern Turkey, barely acknowledged Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.

Turkey’s tech businesses: Boom on the Bosporus

The Economist

Lots of young people, eager to shop and play online: no wonder Turkey’s internet industry is crowded

MUSLIM farmers do not keep pigs. This is as true of those who play at virtual agriculture as of those who fill physical food-troughs. So there are no pigs in the Arabic version of “Happy Farm”, published by Peak Games, a young firm based in Istanbul. For the same reason “Happy Farm” has no vineyards, and female farmhands wear the hijab. Local tastes matter.

Peak Games has found rich soil. It already employs 200 people and has developers in Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well as Istanbul and Ankara. More than 35m people play its games at least once a month, many of them on Facebook. Half of the players are in Turkey; the rest are in the Middle East and north Africa. Rina Onur, one of its founders, says that she and her colleagues saw a gap in the online-games market that companies catering to Western tastes could not fill. So Peak Games offers people in Turkey and nearby countries games with a regional twist, like “Happy Farm”, as well as online versions of traditional amusements. Okey, a Turkish game played with tiles, is most popular.

Turkey is bursting with internet companies, many of them selling things to the young. It is not hard to see why. The country is big, youthful and embracing the internet eagerly. Half of its 75m people are under 30. Around 44% of Turks use the internet, up from just 14% in 2006 and 3% in 2000. They comprise Facebook’s seventh-largest national audience. Turks are also happy to use credit cards, which are handy for buying things online: the country has three of them for every five people, says GP Bullhound, an investment bank, more than the European average. And the market still has a lot of room to grow. Penetration rates are well below those in western Europe (see chart).

13 Aralık 2012 Perşembe

Turkey weighs pivotal oil deal with Iraqi Kurdistan

Ben Ven Heuvelen     The Washington Post

ANKARA, Turkey — American diplomats are struggling to prevent a seismic shift in Turkey’s policy toward Iraq, a change that U.S. officials fear could split the foundations of that fractious state.

The most volatile fault line in Iraq divides the semiautonomous Kurdistan region in the north from the Arab-majority central government in Baghdad. As the two sides fight for power over territory and oil rights, Turkey is increasingly siding with the Kurds.

Kurdish and Turkish leaders have had a budding courtship for five years. But now Turkey is negotiating a massive deal in which a new Turkish company, backed by the government, is proposing to drill for oil and gas in Iraq’s Kurdish region and build pipelines to transport those resources to international markets. The negotiations were confirmed by four senior Turkish officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of political sensitivities.

“Turkey hasn’t needed to ask what we think of this, because we tell them at every turn,” said a senior U.S. official involved in Middle East policymaking, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk with the media. The official said that any bilateral energy deals with the Kurdistan region would “threaten the unity of Iraq and push [Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki closer to Iran.”

Greece Is Not Poor - It Actually Has Massive Uptapped Reserves Of Gold, Oil And Natural Gas

By Michael

It turns out that the poster child for the European debt crisis is not actually poor at all.  In fact, the truth is that the nation of Greece is sitting on absolutely massive untapped reserves of gold, oil and natural gas.  If the Greeks were to fully exploit the natural resources that are literally right under their feet, they would no longer have any debt problems.  Fortunately, this recent economic crisis has spurred them to action and it is now being projected that Greece will be the number one gold producer in Europe by 2016. 

In addition, Greece is now opening up exploration of their massive oil and natural gas deposits.  Reportedly, Greece is sitting on hundreds of millions of barrels of oil and gigantic natural gas deposits that are worth trillions of dollars.  It is truly sad that Greece should be one of the wealthiest nations in all of Europe but instead the country is going through the worst economic depression that it has experienced in modern history.  It is kind of like a homeless man that sleeps on the streets every night without realizing that a relative has left him an inheritance worth millions of dollars.  Greece is not poor at all, and hopefully the people of Greece can learn the truth about all of this wealth and chart a course out of this current mess.

I have written extensively about the nightmarish economic conditions that Greece is experiencing right now.  Just check out this article, this article and this article.  Since the depression began in Greece, the Greek economy has contracted by more than 20 percent.  In April 2010, the unemployment rate in Greece was only 11.8 percent.  Since then it has skyrocketed to 25.1 percent.

12 Aralık 2012 Çarşamba

China ‘has advantage’ in bid for Turkey's 2nd nuclear plant


 Hurriyet Daily News

A withdraw from Treasury guarantee demand and self-financing option makes China advantageous in its race with Japan, South Korea and Canada for Turkey’s second planned nuclear facility, Turkish Energy Minister Yıldız says. The winner is expected to be announced before the end of the year

As the Turkish government nears the deadline it set for itself to announce the winning company of a bid for a second nuclear plant in the Black Sea region, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız has said China possesses an advantage.

China brings it own financing to the project and does not demand a Treasury guarantee, which are important advantages, Yıldız said at the Caspian Forum 2012 in Istanbul  Reuters reported.

However, China is also demanding a share in the discussed facility, Yıldız said.

Canada, South Korea and Japan are also bidding for the Sinop nuclear facility plans and the ministry had earlier announced the winner would be made public by the end of this year.