Energy Diplomacy Panel Was Staged
A panel entitled “Energy Diplomacy” was organized and realized with the participation of Energy and Natural Resources Minister Mr. Taner Yıldız, and also with the sponsorship of the Institute of Strategic Thinking Economic Coordination. As a consequence of the plenary speech delivered by the SDE Chairman Prof. Dr. Yasin Aktay, the moderator of the panel was the TED University’s teaching staff member Prof. Dr. Jülide Yıldırım Öcal. Speakers and the participants included the SDE Energy Consultant Serkan Şahin, Tiway, Turkey Reservoir Director Serhat Canbolat, the Energy Market Regulatory Authority, Petroleum Market Department Head Taner Mutlu and Ahmet Lokurlu from the SOLİTEM.
Energy is the Culprit for Sponsoring Squabbles and Conflicts
Held at the Conference Hall of the SDE on April 2, 2013, the keynote and plenary speech was delivered by Prof. Dr. Yasin Aktay, who stated that: “…energy has always become a major problem in the development route of Turkey, and continues to act as such even today. At present, a substantial portion of our production is reliant on energy. The share of energy imports in the total importation figure is in the vicinity of 25%, as this anomaly breeds the foreign trade deficit. Although the fact that Turkey lacks critical energy resources such as natural gas and petroleum, prodding it to search out for alternative energy resources, it could be candidly affirmed that we have been rather late in launching such strategic pursuits. Poignantly, even though our country is ranked in the second place in Europe in respect of the potential we have in the solar energy realm, it is regretful that we are placed at the bottom of the list in terms of solar energy usage. Likewise, we feature in the third level in Europe with respect to wind power energy but we are again located at the 10th position of the roster for the consumption of this type of energy. Discovering the renewable energy and its wide uses constitutes one of the crucial topics that our SDE Economy Coordination is currently working on frenetically. There is no doubt that the real underlying cause and pivotal pretext of probably all of the ethnic, rights, legal squabbles and fighting may be traced to energy, which is perceivably acting as an involuntary sponsor for all of these adversities. Although we possess no natural gas to consume and export, our country is advantaged in regard to its geographic status to undertake energy transfer.” After terminating his speech, Prof. Aktay left the rostrum to Mr. Taner Yıldız.
Economies Are Globalized But Policies Are At National Level
“For us, the NGO’s are important. And, on top of the roster of such civil organizations comes the SDE. As we approach the energy diplomacy theme, it is recommendable to indulge in a calculation to assess the profit-loss probabilities, as we are obliged to perform this task on every affair that we handle and every statement that we make. The world of communications has developed incredibly. This generates innumerous and untold benefits and advantages for human beings. Although it may portend lots of benefits for the society, it harbors some dangers for the people who govern the country. The energy used by the entire Africa is consumed only by New York itself and, owing to this communication means, Africa has realized what it actually meant. Economies across the world are globalized but the policies remain on a national platform. At this juncture, powerful political stability plays a vital role. Studies are focused on a plethora of social policies, utilizing energy as a cue and excuse. The fact that the intervention staged in the name and under the guise of implanting democracy in a country is discovered, a decade later, to be solely an energy power-game ploy.
It appears that natural gas and petroleum usage will prevail until about 2050. By that time, although there is pressuring necessity to develop renewable energy resources, the main menu will still consist of natural gas, petroleum and such energy resources. At present, the world is polluted, contaminated, but the real pollutants, contaminants are refusing to do whatever is required to prevent this. There is little doubt that we must develop solar and wind energy. At this point, we are obliged to procure the right decision on the resources that the God has rewarded us generously. In plain words, who will benefit from such resources? The technology owners, the capital or the inhabitants of that country? Our vantage position is that all of the three should make use of these. Some countries favor the technology owners. We have no technology. If we allocate it exclusively to the technology owners, then we would be cornered to use energy at least one-and-a-half times more of the present rate. For us, the preservation of the environment is also of critical issue. Therefore, the balance between the producer and the consumer in the energy field must be carefully and wisely structured. We believe that we have been able to lay out this construct successfully in Turkey. If you use this in the name and stead of the investor, then you will be tempted to apportion the weight to that flank, and, in due course of time, you will be confronted with an abrupt elevation in the electricity prices. So, you are compelled to both determine the fundamental structure that embodies the consumption propensity of the public in general while also managing this transformation. We hold the opinion that this structure has been finally resolved in the energy sector.
Upcoming Decade Portends More Significant Changes
We should make the necessary calculations to appraise how the investment that we undertake now will return within a time-span of 15-20 years. In our country, the population is increasing at a substantial figure of one million each year…and the number of motor vehicles is also surging by one million on a yearly basis. Nearly 65% of Turkey’s 60 billion dollars’ worth of energy imports signifies petroleum products and their derivatives used in motor vehicles. The number of motor vehicles which had stood at 8 million a decade ago has now reached 16-17 million. As a fancy suggestion, if we propose to the public to refrain from driving their cars for a period of one year, without certainly sacrificing from their wealth level, and turn off their ignition keys for one year, we would be faced with an import contraction to the tune of about 36 billion dollars. Certainly we will not lament our imports. Shall we despair over it? Definitely not! We are importing energy, nothing else. While we are importing 72% of all of our energy needs, we are able to generate the remaining portion internally. We are not dependent like Korea and Japan, in the past, hovering nearly at around 100 percent. At any rate, Japan managed to reduce its reliance down to 52%. And, this has been achieved through adoption of nuclear energy. Growth attained while in transformation or transformation accomplished while growing are too risky. Judging in nominal terms, the upcoming decade promises more changes and transformation. Nearly 10 years ago, we had a different vision. Such sociological events are also interrelated with energy. If I drive in my private car, I am obliged to pay for the fuel. We are, by deduction, paying the price merely because the number of privately-owned cars has undergone a notable surge. The rate of increase in the items covered under our energy import bill is showing a steady decline in recent years. All this implies that we are managing this structure in the correct manner.
Energy Sector Is the Most Beneficiary of the Political Stability
As long as the right approaches are adopted, we are scoring significant growth stories, and as we get stronger, we tread upon the right path. The absolute value of no sector is larger than the absolute size of the political stability. The direct beneficiary of political stability is most visibly manifested in the energy sector. Today, even a project valued at a meager 22 million dollars is performed and carried out without the cover of a treasury guarantee. Sometimes energy proves to be a burden on a sovereign country but sometimes it proves to be the opposite. Both cases have been clearly observed in Turkey. We have, at the outset, targeted to mitigate the load of energy on the politics. After resolving the conundrum created by energy on the import front, energy will be utilized exclusively for peaceful purposes. In regard to political relations, we do not share the viewpoints maintained by both Iran and Russia regarding the Syrian deadlock. But we are persisting to purchase energy from these countries. Choosing one country does not mean a preference that would ultimately alienate the other. Turkey will continue its energy investments until 2023, in conjunction with the international capital and investors.
Northern Iraqi Project Portrays More Capacity Than the BTC Project
In reaction to a question relating to the energy exchange and trade relations between Turkey and the Iraqi Kurdish Region Administration, Minister Yıldız has offered the following reply: “The opposition had submitted a censure motion against our government in connection with this subject. While we are not indifferent and aloof to projects that transpire in remote countries such as Venezuela and Colombia, how could we be expected to ignore a venture so lucrative ın the nearby Iraq? About three years ago, we had taken over a project in Iraq’s south region. Nobody had scolded us then on why we were actively interested. Why would it pose a problem to acquire a project in the country’s north when we are handling similar projects in the south and the eastern enclave? I ascribe no meaning and rationale to a mentality that enquires our dependence on Russia while criticizing the contents of a contract concluded with Iraq. Our only responsibility is defending the rights of our own people. Whatever we do and perform is for the sake and benefit of our country. When we rotate our attention to the so-called Turkic Republics, Turkey seems to have ben rather late in developing comprehensive projects in that vast terrain, in comparison with other developed countries. Naturally, we do not want the same thing to happen in Northern Iraq. The Northern Iraq project harbors more capacity than the BTC project. While the BTC features a capacity of 50 million tons, the Iraqi figure ranges at 70 million tons. From now on, in the subject-matter of carrying the Iraqi petroleum, we will not refrain from assuming the construction task of the pipelines ourselves if their network proves insufficient and incapable…all for the normalization of Iraq. We will not desist from taking this bold step…Even though the political stability is non-existent, the Northern Iraqi basin boasts a revenue stream of about 100 billion dollars… from petroleum products and derivatives.”
Pretext of Apology Is Not Linked To Energy Projects
Referring to the apology reportedly articulated by Israel as a consequence of its unprovoked raid on the Mavi Marmara cruiser and the impending energy agreement, Minister Yıldız revealed: “The reason of the apology should not be correlated with the energy projects…but its result may be attached to energy projects. Such topics will be extensively discussed and dealt with in the foreseeable future once the normalization of bilateral relations is secured. Without Turkey actively involved, it is rather impossible to realize these ambitious projects. The same holds true and valid also for the South Cyprus. Turkey will not remain idle and indifferent.”
Following the conclusion of Energy and Natural Minister Taner Yıldız’s keynote speech, panel speakers began to take the rostrum for their diverse presentations.
No Natural Gas and Power Rate Hikes in April
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız disclosed that “there was no necessity to unveil upward price adjustments in both the natural gas and the electricity for the month of April.
Responding to questions in the TBMM (the “Turkish Grand National Assembly”), Yıldız stated that “there is no question of price hikes that would be reflected on our citizens, commercial entities, industrialists, and household owners…nothing of that sort is pondered for the month of April.”
Furthermore, the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (“EPDK”) also issued a statement via a press release, reassuring that no tariff change and price increase in electricity supply was planned to be effective from April 1. In this manner, the EPDK has effectively clarified and refuted news that have purported that changes had been implemented in the electricity tariffs and that this would be reflected as a rate upgrade on the consumers. In the elaboration, it was stated that, “No change has been effected in the final electricity tariffs that would have been approved by the Authority and planned to be valid as of April 1.”
Energy Bourse Is On the Way
The Energy Market Regulatory Authority has organized the “Multi-Supplier Turkish Natural Gas Market 1st Consultative Meeting.” The EPDK’s Chairman Hasan Köktaş has offered the following explanations on the subject-matter: “Particularly in the recent episode, the political developments that have taken place both in our country and abroad have all combined to enhance Turkey’s importance vis-à-vis the energy realm. In a regional context, new alternative routes are coming to foreground. In our capacity as the Energy Market Regulatory Authority, we are attaching utmost importance to the establishment of a regulated energy exchange or a bourse for the underlying objective of converting our country into a regional hub, a significant energy terminal at a critical crossroad. With that goal in mind, we have organized a consultative panel in order to assess and evaluate the existing situation in natural gas and the allied prospects, with the active and wide-ranging participation of the sector figures. Consequently, we had proclaimed 2013 as the year when we would complete the technical infrastructure and the foundations designed and intended for launching the natural gas exchange. As part of the preparations, it is essential, for taking the initial steps towards establishing the bourse, that the natural gas distribution companies should set up their gas shipment centers; the state-run BOTAŞ to commence operations for the launch of the electronic bulletin table (“EBT”) in a transparent manner and that the natural gas importers to secure the steady flow of information and facts to the EBT. In that domain, we are also compelled to undertake important amendments and regulations to govern and administer the market effectively. We have circulated the necessary instructions and guidelines to all of the sector participants to terminate their preparations in this matter, noting that this process will have to operate in full conjunction with the regulatory and supervisory mechanism.”
Private Sector’s Share On the Rise
While the private sector’s share in Turkey’s aggregate natural gas importation had stood at a meager 1% in 2008, it is expected to top the figure of 21% by 2013. This implies that the pie of the private sector has multiplied by five within a span of only five years. In the forthcoming years, Turkey aspires to emerge as a regional power through the efforts of the private enterprises. With the operation of a multi-supplier market and a natural gas bourse, which would firmly guarantee supply security, the long-term target is to eventually create a powerful natural gas market and provide the country with the gas in the most efficient, cheapest and secure channel.