31 Ocak 2013 Perşembe

Iraqi Kurds woo more oil majors in contest with Baghdad

Julia Payne & Simon Falush       Reuters

Iraqi Kurdistan said it is negotiating with two or three major international companies to operate oilfields and expects to announce the outcome in about a month, in a move likely to further heighten tensions with Baghdad.

The remarks by Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami on Tuesday highlight the autonomous region's resolve to push ahead with development of its oil resources independently of the Baghdad-based central government.

Kurdistan has upset the central government by signing deals directly with oil majors such as Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil, providing lucrative production-sharing contracts and better operating conditions than in the south of the country.

Last week Hawrami said Kurdistan, which is in the north of Iraq and has run its own administration and armed forces since 1991, had awarded Chevron a stake in the Qara Dagh oil block.

"We are negotiating with two to three other significant companies. They will hopefully be announced in a month or so," Hawrami told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in London.

He also said Exxon Mobil's contentious deal to operate in the autonomous region was on track.

Gas in the eastern Mediterranean: Drill, or quarrel?

The Economist 

Politics could choke supplies from big new offshore gasfields

AN OLD joke—that Moses led his people to the only place in the Middle East without oil—needs updating. Israel may not have oil, but it does have gas. The Tamar gasfield, discovered in 2009 off Israel’s coast, holds great promise. Leviathan, discovered in 2010, holds even more. The US Geological Survey reckons that there could be 120 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of technically recoverable gas in the Levant basin, which washes the shores of Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus (see map). So far, however, only 35tcf has been located. And as Simon Henderson of the Washington Institute, a think-tank, points out: “Israel’s initial euphoria” is fading. The region’s political fractiousness does not end at the water’s edge.

Israel, which relies heavily on imported energy, has much to gain. The gas discovered so far could satisfy its domestic demand for 20 years, according to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. And exports could yield oodles of cash. Cyprus stands to benefit, too, from the 7tcf so far discovered off its coast. It currently generates 95% of its energy with pricey oil; gas would be cheaper, and could be exported.

30 Ocak 2013 Çarşamba

Turkey bought a new seismic research vessel for oil and gas seismic exploration of the offshore continental shelf

Turkey's new seismic research vessel(old name is Polarcus samur) bought from Norwegian Palarcus Company. Vessel named as Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa

Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) plans to use the 3D vessel to conduct extensive seismic exploration of the offshore continental shelf of Turkey in both the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Through this collaboration arrangement Polarcus will assist TPAO to significantly improve its understanding of the offshore continental shelf of Turkey, potentially opening up several new provinces for future exploration activity, and also position the Company for prime access to this important emerging market.

Vessel docked at Istanbul today.

Turkey reached important strategic element on oil and natural gas research and exploration dispute on eastern mediterranean and aegean sea against the Israel, Greek Cyprus and Greece with this new seismic research vessel.

New Seismic vessel also important element in new offshore energy exploration projects on Turkey's exclusive economic zone.

Turkey signed a deal last year for contruction of another seismic research vessel http://www.ssm.gov.tr/home/projects/Sayfalar/proje.aspx?projeID=32

Second seismic research vessel construction deal signed for MTA (Mineral Research & Exploration General Directorate) http://www.mta.gov.tr/v2.0/daire-baskanliklari/deniz/index.php?id=yeni-gemi-duyuru

Specifications of the Vessel Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa

8 streamer ARCTIC-READY 3D/4D seismic vessel

29 Ocak 2013 Salı

Turkey Beating Norway as Biggest Regional Oil Driller: Energy

Offshore Oil drilling on Turkey's Black sea cost

Selcan Hacaloğlu & Brian Swint       Bloomberg

Turkey is drilling for oil and natural gas with more rigs than any European country and plans new rules in 2013 to speed exploration of energy supplies for the fastest-growing major economy after China.

The country fielded 26 rigs at Dec. 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and the number has since risen to 34, Energy Ministry officials said yesterday. Turkey has leapfrogged Norway as offshore drilling increased in the Black and Mediterranean seas. Spending on exploration jumped to $610 million last year from $42 million a decade earlier.

With economic growth forecast at 3.5 percent this year and about twice the pace of the most advanced economies to 2017, Turkey is drilling for its own energy to ease reliance on imports from Iran, Iraq and Russia. State-owned Turkish Petroleum Corp. has taken Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) as partners, after neighboring Israel and Cyprus made some of the decade’s biggest gas finds in the past three years.

“If there’s one country that needs energy, it’s Turkey,” said Darren Engels, an analyst at FirstEnergy Capital in Calgary. “Their domestic business doesn’t scratch the surface.”

Turkish Petroleum, which is known as TPAO and has operations in Libya, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Colombia and Kazakhstan, needs to boost domestic output as it pursues a target of supplying all of Turkey’s energy needs by 2023.

28 Ocak 2013 Pazartesi

Turkey eyes role in Iraq’s oil and gas shares

Sevim Songün Demirezen      Hürriyet Daily News

Turkey should secure a place for itself in both the northern and southern oil and gas fields of Iraq since its energy future is inextricably linked with its southern neighbor, despite frequent recent friction, sector representatives have said.

“If there is energy somewhere, then it has to flow somewhere else. You can’t escape that fate,” said Mehmet Öğütçü, the head of Global Resources Corporation, implying that fuel drilled in Iraq would be transported outside the country regardless of political or economic obstacles.

Speakers at yesterday’s “Natural Gas as the Game Changer” roundtable meeting organized by the Marmara Group Foundation predicted that Iraq would have a significant place in the natural gas bus sector in the coming years.

“Iraq will be producing around 19 billion cubic meters of natural gas by 2035, which means it will become the fifth or sixth biggest producer in the world,” said Tahir Uysal, a partner at Silso Oil.

Turkey should not only conduct energy investments in northern Iraq, but should also pursue ties in the southern part of the country as well, he told the Daily News on the sidelines of the meeting.

Turkey to explore fuel with Shell in Black Sea


Hurriyet Daily News

Turkish Petroleum Corporation plans to search for oil in the Black Sea with Shell, sources say. However, the ministry has not announced officially

 Turkey’s state-run oil researcher TPAO prepares to search for oil in the Black Sea with the Anglo-Dutch Shell, after failed attempts by international energy companies, according to sources.

The ministerial sources said TPAO and the Holland-United Kingdom-based Shell have been in contact for an oil exploration partnership in the Black Sea. The contract date has been determined to be Feb. 14, when the two companies will reveal their search and production deal to the public, sources said.

Furthermore, TPAO, which has carried out oil and natural gas exploration by itself, has received a proposal from Shell to work together in the Gulf of Mersin, alongside the other companies’ proposals, sources say. TPAO might strike a deal with Shell or another company for a partnership in Mersin, as it had talks with 13 companies for exploring in the İskenderun-Mersin Gulf last year.

27 Ocak 2013 Pazar

America: The Next Energy Superpower?


This year, the U.S. will likely surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia as the largest liquids fuel producer in the world.  

From previously challenging the “tyranny of oil,” newly inaugurated U.S. President Barack Obama enters his second term in office as leader of a potential oil and gas superpower.

According to BP’s Energy Outlook 2030, unconventional sources will make the United States virtually energy self-sufficient by 2030, largely thanks to the shale gas revolution.

“The U.S. will likely surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia in 2013 as the largest  liquids producer in the world (crude and biofuels) due to tight oil and biofuels growth…. Russia will likely pass Saudi Arabia for the second slot in 2013 and hold that until 2023. Saudi Arabia regains the top oil producer slot by 2027,” the London-based oil and gas giant said.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has forecast that the nation could become a net exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as early as 2016, and a net exporter of total natural gas (including via pipelines) by 2020.

For the Asia-Pacific region, potential U.S. gas exports could undercut higher priced gas from Australia and elsewhere, resulting in lower fuel bills for major importers such as Japan and South Korea.

However, fast-growing China and India are expected to become even more reliant on imports to satisfy domestic demand, BP said in its report.

Turkey - France struggle on Africa: Turkey Reinforces 'Hands Off' Policy on Mali


26 Ocak 2013 Cumartesi

China, Russia, U.S. raise Mediterranean naval focus

A Chinese Submarine on Training Duty

Peter Apps, Political Risk Correspondent      Reuters

Egypt has seen no shortage of empires come and go, from its own ancient civilizations to those of Greece, Rome, Britain and France. Now, it is among the outposts of the latest Mediterranean power: China.

(Reuters) - PORT SAID, Egypt Situated at the northern end of the Suez Canal, the Port Said Container Terminal is one of the busiest in the region, vital for shipments not only to Egypt but also much of Europe and the Middle East.

Like several other key ports in the region - including Piraeus in Greece and Naples in Italy - it is now partially owned by China. The state-owned Cosco Pacific holds 20 percent the terminal, helping make it one of the dominant - if not the dominant - Mediterranean port operators.

Cosco stresses that it is a purely commercial venture and many analysts agree. But few doubt that Beijing has made a wider geopolitical decision to become much more involved in the region.

For the last two years, the People's Liberation Army Navy has sent one or more warships through the Suez Canal to visit southern European ports, the furthest its fleet has ever operated from home.

But China is not the only great power now increasing its involvement in the area. With Russia sending warships to positions off Syria and the United States signaling it too intends to take the region more seriously, the Mediterranean is clearly no longer seen as the strategic backwater many believed it had become.

25 Ocak 2013 Cuma

Turkey, Greece wary of territorial waters claims

H.K. Tzanis             SETimes 

Both countries appear poised to keep discussing the potential dispute amid reports that Greece may unilaterally claim an exclusive economic zone.

Recent and highly publicised gas finds in the eastern Mediterranean between Israel and Cyprus, coupled with cash-strapped Greece's eagerness to better exploit natural resources, has thrust the question of exclusive economic zones into the spotlight.

Over the past couple years Athens and Ankara have moved to mend once tense relations despite long-entrenched opposing views on sea rights in the Aegean. But recent reports in Greek media that the country is preparing to unilaterally delimitate the zones carries the potential for friction.

Turkey's chief foreign affairs official insists, however, that the two countries have "channels" to discuss and deal with any dispute.

At the crux of Athens' standing position on maritime jurisdictions is the landmark UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS, of which Greece and all EU member-states are signatories, but Turkey is not.

The convention, in force since 1994, recognises nations' rights to extend their territorial waters up to 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) and an exclusive economic zone up to 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) from a defined coastal baseline. To date, neither Turkey nor Greece have officially claimed an economic zone or extended their territorial waters to the full 12 miles in the Aegean.

20 Ocak 2013 Pazar

Turkey's big thirst for new power

Photo by Osman Orsal - Reuters

Florian NEUHOF*   The National

Turkey is in a rush to grow its energy sector. And recent news that the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, known as Taqa, will invest heavily in Turkish coal-fired power plants shows how serious Ankara is taking this commitment.

The deal, announced at the start of the year, will see Taqa build and operate a power generation base totalling 7,000 megawatts, or about 10 per cent of Turkey's electricity needs by the time the plants are completed.

Turkey's energy minister, Taner Yildiz, is keen to emphasise that efforts will be taken to minimise the environmental impact of the country's power sector.

The plants will be fed with lignite, a soft brown coal reviled by environmentalists for the emissions its use entails. Lignite is found in Turkey's soil and offers some relief in the complicated task of securing hydrocarbons from abroad.

Turkey is dependent on imports for 91 per cent of its oil and 98 per cent of its natural gas and it relies heavily on Iran and Russia for its supplies. It is therefore keen to push the share of electricity produced from gas from about 50 per cent to less than 30 per cent in the next decade and to diversify its hydrocarbon sources.
Turkey has reluctantly complied with United States and European Union demands to reduce imports from Iran as part of a new round of sanctions, but its dependence on Iranian supply has meant it has refused to cut economic ties with the country.

12 Ocak 2013 Cumartesi

Turkey and Africa

İbrahim KALIN*        TZ 

Turkey’s Africa opening initiative launched in 2005 gained new momentum this week with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s three-country visit to Africa.  

Traveling to Gabon, Niger and Senegal with a large group of Turkish businessmen, Erdoğan stressed Africa’s strategic importance for Turkey. This is a result of the ongoing diversification of Turkey’s foreign policy. But it is also a testament to Africa’s rising significance in the 21st century.

Turkey is no stranger to Africa. It has a long history of relations with countries stretching from North Africa to the Sahel region. In a quiet but steady way, Turkey is again establishing strong relations with Africa.

High-level visits, diplomatic relations, investment and trade, cultural and educational programs, scholarships and the work of the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA), and Turkish NGOs have changed the old parameters of relations between Turkey and the African continent.

9 Ocak 2013 Çarşamba

Turkey turns to coal to loosen Iran, Russia gas reliance

John McGarrity       Reuters

  • Turkey relies to 70 pct on imports to meet energy demand
  • Booming population need more electricity
  • Domestic lignite to boost power production, reduce import needs

LONDON, (Reuters) - Turkey is turning to its own coal, worried about dependence on pricier gas from Iran and Russia, after a deal with a UAE company which will boost its coal-fired power capacity by two thirds.

Its biggest gas supplier is Russia's Gazprom, which accounts for around half of imports, but it is long-term supply from Iran that could pose the biggest concerns. Turkey might not be able to continue to ignore further tightening of international sanctions aimed at curtailing the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme.

Gas imports have also been disrupted as a result of attacks on Iranian and Azeri import pipelines by Kurdish separatists.

"In public, Turkey has tried to show it won't bow to U.S. pressure, but even if can still buy Iranian gas, it's unlikely to be able to increase imports from a country that is subject to strict embargoes," said Alex Jackson, an analyst with political risk consultants Menas Associates.

Iran supplies around 16 percent of Turkey's gas needs, followed by 15 percent from Azerbaijan, according to International Energy Agency (IEA) figures.

Ankara has signed a $12 billion deal with Abu Dhabi's TAQA to mine lignite coal and build up to 8,000 megawatt (MW) of new power plants by 2020.

8 Ocak 2013 Salı

Turkey’s Energy Challenges

Daniel WAGNER* & Giorgio CAFIERO**      CounterPunch

Ankara will soon be confronted with some difficult foreign policy decisions that could affect its long-term energy interests. The discovery of vast reserves of natural gas off the coasts of Cyprus and Israel could oblige Turkey to resolve longstanding disputes with its neighbours.

Turkey has managed to maintain impressive growth rates over the past decade in spite of a lack of indigenous sources of energy. Ankara has pursued a foreign policy aimed at diversifying the country’s energy imports while simultaneously positioning itself as a major energy hub. Turkey’s geostrategic position makes achieving this dual objective challenging, but it has managed to strike a balance between being assertive and deferential in acquiring and managing its energy supply. While the Turkish government’s power to influence events in the region is of course limited, it will be compelled to make some difficult foreign policy decisions in the near term that could substantially impact its long-term energy interests.

Turkey imports 91 percent of its oil and 98 percent of its natural gas. In 2011, approximately 51 percent of its oil came from Iran and 55 percent of its natural gas from Russia. Iraq’s resurrection as a major oil and gas exporter to the world offers Turkey an opportunity to become an increasingly influential energy hub between the Arabian Gulf and European markets. However, the tense triangular relationship between Turkey, Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Government has greatly complicated the energy trade with Iraq. This has also cast doubt about the long-term reliability of the Iraqi-Turkish pipeline that exports nearly 400,000 barrels per day to the important port of Ceyhan in southern Turkey. Turkey’s perennial battle with Kurdish separatists has served to ensure that the relationship with Iraq remains problematic and uncertain.

6 Ocak 2013 Pazar

Turkey sees promise in pivoting north

Black Sea Countries and transportation routes on the map

Catherine Stupp    Christian Science Monitor

With its attempts to join the EU stalled and its leadership role in the Middle East marred by Syria's conflict, Turkey is turning its attention to a less tumultuous border – the Black Sea.

Istanbul, Turkey - Its protracted bid to join the European Union remains stalled and its "zero problems" policy in the Middle East is cracking over support for Syria's opposition. But one foreign policy front retains promise for Turkey: the Black Sea. 

Nowhere is it more evident than the busy industrial city of Trabzon in northeastern Turkey, a regional trade hub because of its location on roads that connect it to both Istanbul and other cities to the east. The cobblestone streets of the city center are bustling with buses and private cars carrying passengers to Georgia, only 125 miles to the northeast, as well as trucks shipping goods across the region via the highway that cuts through the city.

If plans for a highway connecting the 12 countries bordering the Black Sea go forward, Trabzon's growth – and Turkey's growing stance as a regional leader – is poised to surge.

Turkey’s Black Sea coast, far from its tumultuous southern border, offers a promising contrast its more troubled efforts to join the EU and to expand networks in the Middle East. Ankara has emerged as the dominant initiator of regional cooperation, institutionalized by the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), which was founded on the heels of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Filling the Soviet vacuum

Although Turkey was one of 10 founding members, it played a leading role in BSEC's establishment, and the organization's permanent headquarters is still located in Istanbul.

4 Ocak 2013 Cuma

Turkey, UAE sign deal for $12 billion Energy deal

Afşin - Elbistan power plant

Hurriyet Daily News

The Turkish and United Arab Emirates governments agree to jointly develop Turkey’s large coal fields in the south for power generation. The $12 billion deal may help Turkey diversify its supply. 

Energy-hungry Turkey has signed a landmark deal with the United Arab Emirates to develop its coal fields in the south with a giant project worth nearly $12 billion.

The deal between the Abu Dhabi-based, government-controlled TAQA and Turkey’s state-run electricity company EÜAŞ was a crucial, according to Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız.

“This is the second-biggest investment made in Turkey after the two nuclear power plant projects,” Agence France-Presse quoted the minister as saying.

The parties foresee the generation of some 85 million tons of coal annually, or 45 billion kWh every year. Some 15,000 people will be recruited during the construction phase and the facilities will provide jobs for 8,500 once finished, officials said.