European energy exchanges ICE Endex and EEX are competing for a slice of Turkey's booming power market as the country prepares to open its first electricity exchange, executives from the companies said on Tuesday.
Turkey, with $60 billion of annual energy imports, is liberalising its energy market and plans to open an electricity exchange by October to increase liquidity and become a leading trading hub between Europe and the east.
Expected growth in Turkey's energy demand is second only to China, making the country a favourite investment market among European energy companies hit by stalling growth in their core markets.
"We're looking at Turkey with interest as a new business opportunity," said Wouter de Klein, commercial director at ICE Endex, on the sidelines of the EMART Turkey energy conference.
"We would be interested in participating in further developing the energy trading markets in Turkey and to work together with the relevant Turkish authorities in doing so."
ICE Endex is a new European power and gas trading platform launched by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) this year to increase its presence in Europe's mature energy markets.
Germany-based rival EEX has already signed an agreement with Turkey's transmission system operator TEIAS to cooperate on the creation of Turkey's energy exchange.
"We've started talking with TEIAS about how we can use our experience. We have made mistakes in the past (but) there is no need to make them again, so we are happy to share our experiences," said Tobias Paulun, a member of the exchange management board at EEX.
Turkey's new energy law foresees the state, through state-owned companies, taking a maximum stake of 30 percent in the exchange, with the remainder open to other investors and the Istanbul Stock Exchange.
Parties interested in participating in the energy exchange will attend a meeting in Ankara on Wednesday to discuss their preferences for how shareholdings could be structured, said Oytun Alici at Turkey's energy market regulator.
Another possible contender for a role in setting up Turkey's energy exchange is Nasdaq, which operates Scandinavian energy exchange Nordpool and Britain's N2EX bourse through its Nasdaq OMX subsidiary
Nasdaq OMX declined to comment.
The U.S.-listed exchange, along with the London Stock Exchange, is in talks with the Turkish government about taking a stake in the Istanbul Stock Exchange.