Interview: Süreyya Yücel Özden, Chair of WEC Turkey

Süreyya Yücel ÖzdenSüreyya Yücel Özden, Chair of WEC Turkey, talks to WEC Inside about the Turkish energy sector ahead of WELS Istanbul in April

What is Turkey’s strategic role in the global energy sector?

Turkey is located between Europe – one of the largest energy-consuming centres of the world – and the Caspian region – one of the world’s most important hydrocarbon reserve areas. It offers a critical and secure route for the transmission of energy commodities to world markets through its strategic oil and gas pipelines. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Nabucco gas pipeline are remarkable examples of these strategic pipelines. In addition, a significant volume of oil is carried daily by super-tankers through the Bosphorus and Dardenel sea passages. The amount of oil cargo passing through the Turkish straits has increased.  It now represents about 9% of the world’s total cargo transport market.

Turkey’s and the surrounding region’s economies are growing, and Turkey will become one of the most important energy terminals in the region.  Once Turkey completes construction of its internal pipelines, storage facilities and sea ports, it will become an international energy hub. It also has the capacity to be the gateway for the hydrocarbon resources in the east Mediterranean.

Turkey is also an important primary energy consumer.  As a country dependent on imports, Turkey acquires substantial amounts of oil, gas and coal from the world market.  Turkey’s commodity-purchasing capacity will increase as its economy grows – outperforming European economies – and as it increases its energy use.  Turkey will increasingly seek to diversify its purchase opportunities to mitigate the risks to security of supply.

How much generation capacity is there?

Turkey’s installed electricity generation capacity has now reached 53,000 MW. This is forecast to increase to around 100,000 MW during the next 10 years.  The rise will be aligned to Turkey’s growth and electricity demand, and to the per-capita increase in energy usage.

What role will renewables play?

Renewables will play a primary role in meeting future world energy demand, and Turkey has robust potential.  Turkey also has significant indigenous energy resources, making wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal projects economically viable.  The renewables sector therefore presents a serious and tangible business opportunity for technology, manufacturing and contracting companies of the world. The total amount of investment required to meet Turkey’s energy demand to 2023 is estimated at around US$130 billion.

What are the main policies driving Turkey’s energy sector?

The legislative framework for the energy sector, covering generation, transmission, distribution and supply, is largely complete.

In the draft of Turkey’s main policy, the country will meet its energy demands by implementing a free competitive market.  This approach will provide the legislative backdrop for energy provision at the lowest possible cost, in a secure and environmentally sustainable manner.

How will the World Energy Leaders’ Summit (WELS) in Istanbul inform the WEC network?

Turkey’s strategic position, along with the historical attraction of Istanbul as the city where two continents meet, would make the WELS in Istanbul, to be held during 19–20 April, one of the most interesting WEC events. As we consider the prevailing circumstances in world energy markets and the problems of price volatility and supply security across the world, the WEC network will be well informed of Turkey’s importance and the strategic role it can play.