Insight Turkey Debate V: Regional and Global Energy Security: Turkey’s Role

March 07, 2013 Thursday

SETA Foundation hosted a debate organized by Insight Turkey, a peer-reviewed quarterly in circulation since 1999, and entitled Regional and Global Energy Security: Turkey’s Role with the participation of the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources HE Taner Yıldız, CEO of SOCAR Turkey Kenan Yavuz and BP Turkey Country President Bud Fackrell.

In his opening speech, İhsan Dağı, Editor in Chief, Insight Turkey, shared some of his preliminary observations on Turkey’s energy policy. According to him, Turkey will consume more amounts of energy in the years ahead and diversify its energy sources and energy pipeline routes. Finally, Turkey seeks to be a bridge, even a pivotal country in terms of meeting producers of energy resources and their consumers by involving itself in a variety of energy pipeline projects around the country.

KENAN YAVUZ: TRANS-ANATOLIAN NATURAL GAS PIPELINE A PRODUCT OF “BROTHERHOOD AND ECONOMIC RATIONALITY”.

Kenan Yavuz, SOCAR Turkey Energy Inc. CEO, embarked on his speech by noting some shifts in the state of global energy production and consumption.  Between 2000 and 2010 everybody noted the ‘China reality’ but today American companies that moved their factories to China started to return to the United States, Europe is back to burning coal and new markets and actors are emerging. This does not mean though that global dependency on fossil fuels will decrease over time. Especially developing countries such as Turkey will need more of these energy resources than already developed countries in the West. Indeed, the dependence on gas and oil will continue, but the extent of such dependence will be determined by the rate of development of new and more sustainable energy resources. Mr. Yavuz added to his remarks the size and nature of new exciting project, Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline to run from Azerbaijan to Europe via Turkish soil. According to Mr. Yavuz, this project has come about as the combination of “brotherhood and economic rationality”.

BUD FACKRELL:  SOUTHERN CORRIDOR ON THE DOTTED SHEEST WILL TURN INTO SHEETS OF STEEL

Mr. Fackrell started his talk by pointing out that energy is the engine of growth in a country and that they, as BP, has been operating in Turkey for a century by now. He shared with the audience his hope that much-dreamed Southern Corridor will be realized this year. Regarding what the BP brings to the whole project of carrying gas through different pipelines to Europe, Fackrell noted BP’s worldwide experience in gas value chain, its strength in terms of financial and human resources, project management all around the world and its knowledge of the working of the region.  According to him, Shah Deniz field, which already delivers gas to Turkey and Georgia, is the key to exploit the resources of the Caspian. Yet, only a small portion of that gigantic field has been developed so far. In terms of pipelines to carry gas to Europe, Fackrell noted that the BP is evaluating the two options, namely Nabucco and Trans Adriatic pipelines, and that they will have made their decision by mid-2013.

TANER YILDIZ: ENERGY POLICY IS THE TASK OF SOLVING THE PARADOX of OPPORTUNITIES AND RISKS

As the final speaker of the debate, HE Taner Yıldız underlined the importance governmental stability in devising long-term energy policies. In view of the fact that a governments used to last on average merely about 20 months until 2002, it was impossible for any Turkish government to come up with an energy policy and actually implement it. This means that political environment must be as feasible as the energy projects themselves. This enabling political environment is what the AK Party government has provided. The reigning stability in Turkish political system since 2002 has facilitated Turkey’s ambitious involvement in various energy pipeline projects. The Minister also reminded the audience that behind every step on energy the Turkish government takes, there is politics of energy, which involves several calculations on different fronts. Concerning Turkey’s views of the future of energy resources in the world, Yıldız said that Turkey is seeking to utilize more sustainable energy and its coal reserves. However, all the indicators show that natural gas and oil will not go away any time soon for the next decades, which does not permit an emotional attitude but forces a rational approach on this score.