Wednesday, March 25, 2015

2015 Turkish Country Coal Policy

Dear Energy Professional, Dear Colleagues,

In this article, we tried to evaluate the hard coal and/or imported coal firing new thermal power plants in our local market, and we explained the operational problems, advised the new coal firing technologies for their best use and efficient application with available financing in the new thermal power plant investments as of year 2015.


Whereby in global energy supply markets, coal has 25% share, second only after petroleum, coal is the first in the row with 40% share in electricity generation. It is foreseen that coal will have more share in future global markets thanks to new “Clean Coal Technologies”. As a matter of fact, coal is the most important indigenous fossil fuel therefore it should be widely utilized countrywide for cheap and more electricity generation with best applicable use of advanced technologies.
Reserves and Mining
Turkey has both hard coal and lignite deposits. The hard coal is mostly located in the western part of the country, in the Zonguldak Basin, which has more than 1.6 billion metric tons of workable reserves, 512 million tons of proven, about 80% of which can be coked.
Lignite deposits are widespread and plentiful; reserves are estimated at more than 14 billion metric tons, 7th largest in the world, most of which is economically mineable, though only about 7 percent has a heat content of more than 3,000 kilocalories per kilogram. In year 2012, annual lignite production was 68 millions of metric tons. About 40 percent of the Turkey's lignite is in the Elbistan Basin.
Production and Consumption
The Turkish Hard Coal Institute operates five underground mines in Turkey, and is the only hard coal production entity in the country. The two most important lignite fields in Turkey -- the Afsin-Elbistan and Sivas-Kangal coal fields -- are owned by EÜAŞ and operated by private companies under contract.
Even though there is significant production of lignite and some production of hard coal in Turkey, not enough coal is mined to meet demand.
As a result, Turkey imports more than 25 million tons (2013) of hard coal each year, mostly from Russia (33 %), Columbia (24 %), USA (14 %), South Africa (11 %), Australia (5 %) as of 2012. Imported hard coal is used mainly for electric power steelmaking, and cement production. About 75% of the Turkey's lignite is used as a fuel source for electric power production
Coal Technology and Coal Markets

Since there are relatively little investment in the global liberalized markets, or investment priority is given to natural gas fired combined cycle power plants due to their relatively cheaper installed cost and fast construction periods, foreign dependency is increased in countries where they depend on imported fuel. Demand for more natural gas also triggered the demand for more coal.

More coal utilization required better new coal technologies to apply. We have now new obvious evolution in clean coal technologies. When we look at available technology and new trends in market demand, the most important sector is the energy for new technology developments. New tendency is that the technology is developed and enforced not only in the advanced countries but also in the developing countries who are consuming more and more energy.

West European as well as North American Companies are now too expensive to export energy technologies. Soon these countries will not be able to sell their products in the global markets. Even in their home markets, they will be in need to protect themselves with high import taxes and labor codes to avoid influx of cheap foreign labor. In the latest years, China, India, Korea, all Eastern countries have very competitive prices in the global energy markets.

They already cover their own home markets with their own fabrications supported by advanced technology and fabrication licenses. Although they are too cheap, however they have serious difficulties in fabrication of the fastest, the latest, and the best efficient designs in compliance with environmental friendly solutions in the latest world acceptance. However we shall soon visualize that they will accomplish all these prime targets with the price advantage which they already reached at the first place.

We need to reposition our local energy market keeping in mind these new developments. We have engineering and intellectual as well as market potential for local fabrication. We must design our own thermal power plants to fire our own indigenous local fuel, and fabricate in our plants, make the construction, site installation and operation by ourselves.

As a member of local mechanical engineering chamber, we sincerely believe in our local engineering design and fabrication capability. We know that all engineering studies cover more or less almost the same curriculum, same programs in thermodynamics, heat transfer, gas turbine, power plant design courses, with same terminology as enthalpy, entropy and exergy.

We have world class teachers whose reputations are reinforced with their world class technical papers. I am sure that our young engineers are all brilliant with capability in making necessary power plant designs as long as we support them with necessary software and hardware and scientific funds to continue their works. We need to allocate more funds to support MSc/ PhD/PostDoc works and that course of action has to accepted as long term country policy.

Only by employing such national policy to support local technology, we can reach to the necessary advanced level of design/ fabrication and construction our own thermal power plants. Similarly we should be doing the same for designing/ locally fabricating our own wind turbines as well as hydro turbines to respond ever increasing local energy demand.

In the past, we put more priority in buying foreign investors since they had the finance capability to cover the overall power plant investment projects although their products were not the best of its kind, not the most efficient, nor designed to the latest technology to utilize our local available coal. Their plants were not suitable to use our local fuel, lignite or hard coal, and hence they aged fast, very fast, faster than the acceptable market norms.

Those reputable western companies are not existed any more, either they are in bankruptcy, or unable to compete with the available market players beyond their national borders. In the latest years, eastern companies have too cheap prices in thermal power plant tenders. If you prequalify an eastern company in your pre tender procedures, western companies certainly hesitate to participate into the tender since it will be waste of time to compete with those cheap players.

So you can not attract western technologies although you certainly wish to have them to quote. Price is not prime importance for the new players. They even do not know the prevailing market figures, and hence they quote unexpected ultra low prices. Their labor cost for design and fabrication is too low. They have serious market policies to invade the global energy markets.

It is long ignored that the best design to use your local fuel can be accomplished by your own local engineering capability, by your own local engineering/ construction companies. Foreign contractor makes the design, construction, site installation and wait for the guaranteed period for 2-3 years, complete their responsibility and leave the site. The operator stays alone by himself in the long run.

It is too difficult to make necessary long term rehabilitation and programmed repair works without local design/ fabrication support of the original equipment supplier. Therefore local design and fabrication are indispensable for long term operation.

Upcoming Energy Crisis

We all know that we are in the middle of energy crisis; we have lack of sufficient energy supply. Our resources are limited in generating necessary energy. Facing such a great energy demand, our resources will not be sufficient to generate the necessary energy supply.

With new renewable technologies, such as wind/ solar, we can not respond and fulfill the growing prevailing demand fast. They can only enter into the local energy market with some more time elapses. Fast/ easy/ cheap solutions are not available, nor practical, nor feasible.

We need to have long term energy strategies. Local engineering/ local design/ local fabrication must have their shares in those national priorities.

We must design our own thermal power plants based on our own design teams to best fit to our local available fuels, indigenous lignite or hard coal. We must fabricate by ourselves in our own fabrication shops. We must make the site installation by ourselves, and operate. Our local engineers are capable of handling such overall plant designs.

However we need to create such investment climate in the local market. Local market forces should have firm possession instinct in handling all these activities to carry out by themselves, in harmony with local investors, financial institutions, academicians, engineers, engineering unions, engineering and contracting services. We should not leave the initiative to foreigners.

We should not leave the contracting services to cheap foreign labor just because they are too cheap. Our energy markets and our energy potential should be protected against foreign domination and their invasion.

How to cover Project Financing

Financial wise, we have serious reasons to support such decisions. We have serious expectation in the local market that we shall have an electricity market based on real cost. Since crude oil prices are reflected in the local petroleum byproducts immediately, and the consumers accepted to have such burden on their cost calculation, similarly the same will be applied in all phases of price structure in electricity generation.

When we evaluate the electricity supply/ demand projections for the next 10-15 years time, there is no new potential primary energy resource to reduce the ever increasing prices, and hence the short-term electricity prices is expected to float in the range of US$0.16 - US$0.20 per kWh in our local electricity market.

Financial costs, rehabilitation, renewals of the new privatizations in the thermal power plants can not reduce the electricity prices in the short and medium terms.

We are entering into a difficult age for local coal operations in available local coal basins. We shall need more investments and applications of more modern technologies/ machinery in the coal mines. These expenses will be added to the cost structure of final electricity prices.

At this time, more than 50% of electricity generation in the local market is dependent on imported natural gas. Due to delay in investments of hydro and coal based power plants, we have base load in those imported natural gas firing thermal power plants. Unfortunately, that will increase the demand for more combined cycle power plant investments.

Prevailing World Coal Prices

Thanks to the latest developments in technology, PC (Pulverised Coal Firing) and CFB (Fluid Bed) design coal fired thermal power plants have reached to 46 percent efficiency or even exceeded, with application of supercritical pressure and temperatures.

Imported coal at the prevailing US$ 57-71 per ton or US$ 4-5 per MMBtu spot prices are now comparable with US$ 11-14 per MMBtu natural gas prices in combined cycle power plant electricity generation with 60 percent efficiencies.

However the imported coal is indexed to oil prices and there is no reason to expect any drastic change in price ranges in the medium and long terms for any more advantage on spot coal prices.

In any case one should keep in mind that the raw coal price of our local Afsin Elbistan coal is less than US$ 1.80 per MMBtu as of year 2014, although firing in the thermal power plant is not so easy for our major coal, and plant efficiency is not so high. Specially tailored academic and commercial methods are to be explored and enforced.

New Technologies for Firing Difficult Coal

IGCC, CFB, Oxy-fuel firing, Underground gasification methods are also applicable for low calorific value local coals. CFB is proven technology upto 165 MWe per unit outputs.

IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) coal firing can also be employed with careful academic investigations. There is a great potential in its application.

Today energy security is the major parameter to qualify a country as independent. Energy security can only be achieved by an intelligent combination and management of natural and socio-economic local resources and implementation of the latest technology.

It is difficult to think that a country can protect his borders if his energy investment policy is fully import oriented. Turkey has many energy resources but they are not easy to exploit. The hydro power in Turkey needs careful and intelligent policies taking into account its impact on the environment, the agriculture and the inhabited regions. Therefore IGCC/ CFB/ OxyFuel plants can be considered as multi-fuel or fuel flexible.

On the other hand, our local coal mines have varying specifications even in the same basin. Therefore we need to apply expensive selective mining methods rather than our cheap traditional mining for better and efficient firing of the available coal in the thermal power plants. That is an expensive investment that we have only in a few local private applications.

The traditional method is supplying mined coal as received with all undesired unburnable sand, ash, moisture etc. All new imported coal fired power plant investors are major players in other sectors which are in need of cheap electricity. They will consume almost 60-70 percent of generated electricity in their own plants. Remaining potential will be sold in the national market and that is not a problem since there is always need for more energy in our shrinking environment.

Generally local investments are realized by “Corporate finance” methods. Between the period of 1993-2005, we have realized energy power plant investments exceeding overall 4000 MW installed capacity. Those natural gas firing cogeneration plants repay themselves fast and create more money for further investments in new plants.

However we do not have the investment environment for “Non-recourse” project finance to secure “Off Taker” contracts. Therefore it is too difficult to find necessary project financing for mega projects such as Afsin Elbistan. We have lost time in the past and continue to loose more and unable to recover fast in due time.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Today in administrations’ energy policies, the first priority is in securing cheapest, good quality, reliable electricity in the local market. So effective and rational applications of local fuel resources are in vital importance. Therefore the energy planning is also the planning of future of the country in order to avoid any foreseen economic crises.

There is no comfort, no luxury in making mistakes in energy policies. Any mistake is paid back drastically/ severely. Securing energy supply is the first priority. It is our sincere and humble feeling that new investments based on imported coal is too risky. Their construction at the Black Sea coast is more risky, due to increased prices in the world markets and limited coal routes through ever congested Turkish Channels. Russian coal is not/ has never been cheap.
Local coal resources should have the first priority in exploitation for the thermal power plants. Private and even public capabilities are to be encouraged both. We need to encourage the local engineering capabilities, and openly discourage foreign labor. That is loss of national income. There is no value added income generation in the local market by foreign labor. We must reduce our dependency on imported energy, whether they are either coal, natural gas, oil, equipment, project finance, or cheap labor.
We must be very careful in evaluation of Environmental Impact Reports certification as well as in regulatory licensing. Plants should never be placed on forest land. Any new and exaggerated capacity increases, any fuel changes from local coal to imported coal are to be evaluated carefully. Available unloading seaports are to be carefully selected. Deep sea discharge of bottom ash should be avoided.
Last but not least, we need to allocate more funds to support MSc/ PhD/PostDoc works and that course of action has to accepted as long term country policy. We must form more research institutes to make more research on exploration, application and best use of local coal.

Last wording.
Best price is not the best choice for long term smooth and cheap electricity generation. Prinkipo, 25 March, 2015

Haluk Direskeneli is a graduate of METU’s Mechanical Engineering Department (1973). He has worked in public and private enterprises, US-Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), and in fabrication, basic/detail design, marketing, sales, and in project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as a freelance consultant/energy analyst of thermal power plants, and utilizing his basic/detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities, and research institutions. He is a member of METU Alumni and the Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Friday, March 13, 2015

"I Puritani" on Ankara State Opera House

Opera by Vincenzo Bellini (1835), A personal Opinion

Dear Readers,

In this incomprehensible chaotic local environment, opera and classical music, are probably the best engagement for us. It is better to be somewhat "indifferent" to daily events, local politics, to be a bit distant, to detox yourself, to watch opera to listen classical music more than listen to polemics bickering. President Obama is doing it, you see how "indifferent" he is, when faced with events that are beyond his control.

On 7 February 2015 Saturday evening at the Ankara State Opera House, a young college student sat next to me with a timid face expression. He asked me in a whisper, "Do you know the subject of this opera? I just left the nearby theater. I was passing by the opera house. I entered the lobby, asked the ticket box for any available seat, I found the ticket. I will watch the opera for the first time in my life." I told him briefly the subject of the opera. It is Italian "belcanto" (beautiful singing) from start to finish, full of wonderful songs and melodies. It is difficult for the singers to perform but a great pleasure for the audience. I added that the choir, and orchestra both performed very well.

Opera had Premier (first day on stage) night on 21 -February 2015 Saturday. This opera is a love story with dramatic events which took place in 1640 Cromwell period during the Battle of England, with good ending. Vincenzo Bellini wrote the opera in 1835. It was performed for the first time in 1846 in Istanbul during Ottoman period by an Italian group. It is the first staging now. Why Is That?

Because "I Puritani" opera is very difficult to perform in terms of artists. Especially long tiring lyrical Elvira and Arturo characters are difficult to play, and it is difficult to find singers to train them. The number of artists who have taken those characters into their repertoire are very few in the world. "I Puritani" characters we have in our opera repertoire of our artists, is a great gain.

Turkish Diva Leyla Gencer was one of best sopranos who sang the Elvira character. Leyla Gencer LaScala 1961, and Maria Callas 1950 NewYork Metropolitan CD soundtracks are advised to listen prior to opera night.

I watched the first five performances in order to understand the differences of the singers in Cast, as well as the minor details. Lead woman character Elvira is rehearsed by four Turkish sopranos. On Premier night, young beautiful soprano "Görkem Ezgi Yıldırım" played the Elvira character perfectly with her powerful lyric young clear voice. 

The same role played by "Eylem Demirhan" (twice), and "Esra Abacıoğlu Akcan" in the following nights.

Other soloists were our experiences cast of Ankara Opera house, Tuncay Kurtoğlu, Cetin Kıranbay, Savaş Gençtürk, and Serkan Kocadere.

Experienced director "Gürçil Çelikbaş" has remained faithful to the classical staging. The decor was reasonable enough, economically designed, and decor change was fast and easy. The 17th century England costumes were very nice and seemed close to the truth. However, costume designer should have to make special design for tenor "Deniz Leone" for his lead "Arturo" character

German conductor "Florian Frannek" had perfect harmony withe orchestra on five performances. Opera choir was strong, beautiful and exceptional. Carefully crafted costumes, decor were so nice with appropriate staging equipment compatible with lighting system. A feature of Ankara opera house, if you stay behind the curtain line, you get little choking sounds, singing over the stairs is very risky, your voice becomes not heard by the audience properly.

Izmir born, Milan resident tenor "Deniz Leone" played "Arturo" character in all five nights. He had some misfortunate inexperience in the Premier night. In the second and third nights, his voice was lost from time to time, he had to cope with health problems. On fourth and fifth nights, he was extraordinary with his clear powerful lyrical voice with his perfect Italian. "Deniz Leone" was certainly the real hero of this opera. It is not easy to take the stage for five nights in a row. He fought with himself to give us the best performance. He could not leave his place, because there was no one to replace. I congratulate him wholeheartedly.

I suppose that the student sitting next to me, liked the opera. He did not leave in the intermission, stayed until the end, and gave a long applause. For the love of opera, surely it is not necessary to finish the conservatory. Your author likes to attend opera, he has an open ear training with an average viewer-listener capability. He writes his impressions, whatever he sees, hears, feels, in order to present to his readers whether you like it, or not, all up to you.

In year 2014, "I Puritani" took place in Florence opera house in Italy. RAI5 television 3-hour broadcast is uploaded to "" available for all. Florence opera performance had a quite pessimistic staging, ours in Ankara is more optimistic, full of life and I believe that is better. The NewYork Metropolitan Opera staged "I Puritani" in 2007, with famous soprano Anna Netrebko. This year, "i Puritani" will be on stage at Wien, Catania, Madrid, Torino, Melbourne, and NewYork Metropolitan operas. Soprano "Olga Peretyatko" is getting good critics. One should watch the trailers in youtube.

After comparing the various performances in other opera houses, one will appreciate once again that our performance, singers, choir, orchestra are at least as good as the other opera houses. This opera creates a sort of addiction.

I believe that classical music and opera will make your life more beautiful. Do not worry about all unpleasant events which take place beyond your control. That will all goes by in time, this country witnessed many in the past.

"I Puritani" Opera will take the stage again on 30/03 and 06/04 in Ankara. Tickets are available through internet, released 15 days to the performance night. Please do write to me at all time if you have any comments. Greetings and best regards

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Prinkipo, March-15, 2015

Saturday, January 03, 2015

"Fury" (Rage) film, Sherman and T-34 battle tanks in WW'2

Dear Readers,

"Fury" movie, has already became a new cult masterpiece. It contains scenes difficult to watch. It is not for everyone, since the brutality of war is very difficult to watch. Battle tank manufacturing is within mechanical engineering discipline. Automotive is the highest point of mechanical engineering as the excellence of science of art. You must keep the driver and the crew safe at all times. Tank should be the leading deterrent of attack power. You should be able to drive on off-road terrain at least 50-60 km an hour. You should be able to identify the enemy quickly, aim/ shoot/ hit the enemy while your tank is in motion. You should produce that capacity all within 5-6 million US dollar budget per tank in today's prices. These are not easy tasks, but we have to fulfill that capacity in order to survive in our geography.

The major character in US production "Fury" (rage) movie film was the Sherman tank, which was nick-named by the soldiers in time of war as "death trap", when hit, burning quickly, and killing the crews inside by fire. In order to kill a German Tiger tank, at least 4-5 Sherman were spared. Burn to death was the fate of tank crew in WW2. It was sad story of American soldiers entering into the tank by accepting the death by burning from the start.

In fact, the choice of Sherman tanks by American generals at the start of WW2 was a wrong decision. Anyhow wrong or correct, the decision was taken, and Sherman tanks were manufactured in 5-different plants in war almost 50,000 units. It had initially 400 hp petrol firing rear engine, easy to get burned when hit. Due to these dissatisfaction, production is stopped right after the war, the rest were sent to other countries.

We must learn the story of the legendary T-34 tanks of our northern neighbors. Wheel suspensions, and walking pallets were copied from American "Walter Christie" design. Sample Caterpillar tractors were secretly exported to Russia in the 1930s. Tank transmissions were copied from American tractor undercarriage. Tank engine was at the rear, it was water cooled, diesel fuel firing, BMW of German design. T-34 tank had easy maintenance easy repair, with no major operation problems. They had easy maneuver capability in field rides. Cold start of the engine was excellent but transmission was disaster. Their inclined armor were covered with special alloy for protection. Bullets were bouncing on inclined armor and bullets did not work. Two spare fuel tanks externally mounted on tank body rear, needed to pass long distances. During fighting with enemy, fuel tanks were immediately dismantled from the tank body.

Design and early production of T-34 tanks were kept top secret. First bunch of 1000 units were ready for fight against the invading German forces for the first time in Kurtz tank war. Germans were expecting their enemy to have inferior poor design tanks, but just the opposite have happened. German tanks faced with new design, powerful, fast, durable, technological monsters on the war theater. Germans suffered in a great surprise.

Germans thought that their enemy had poor, inferior, undeveloped technology which could be beaten easily. It was happened just the opposite in war theater. Germans were defeated heavily in the clash with new design T-34 tanks. T-34 tanks were invulnerable, so strong so powerful. Later in time, Germans improved their tank design to catch up but their production capability and replacement were not in line with growing war destruction. T-34 fabrication plants were too far away from eastern front, so that German war planes could not reach to bomb. T-34 tanks were manufactured in 5- different fabrication plants each too distant from each other, so that fabrication was continued uninterrupted. During WW2, 84,000 units were produced and design improvements continued for better armor, bigger and powerful guns, more fire power. There were no radio communication in the early versions, so that tank crew communicated with flags between each other, in later models, radio was installed for fast communication.

T-34 off-road speed could reach to 50-60 km per hour in open war theater, whereas German tanks could go maximum 30-40 km per hr. It was a great fighting advantage for T-34 in war clashes. Hitler once said, "If I had known about the T-34 tank's strength in year 1941, I would not have attacked.". That is called deterrence today, T-34 tanks became war hero of the Eastern Front in WW2, which played a major role in winning the victory.

"Michael Koshkin" was the young design engineer of the first prototype T-34 battle tank. In order to prove applicability of the new tank design to decision maker war generals, he drove the first prototype T-34 battle tank from the plant to Moscow army command center in harsh cold winter conditions passing 2000 km off-road fields. He caught pneumonia and soon after the his lone test drive, he died. After receiving the permission, all over the country 5- different plants started to fabricate non-stop during war time 24 hours 7days, with 50% women, 25% young boy labor force, since all men were drafted.

During Stalingrad war, plants had even no time to paint the tanks, so that some of the T-34 tanks were sent without external final paint to battle front, to fight the invading enemy forces, that was an incredible history.


In 1942, in North Africa on Libyan desert, tank battles were very important in WW'2 the history. American Sherman tanks have encountered first time with German Panzer tank divisions on hot Libyan desert. American Generals has selected Sherman tanks although Shermans were weak, smaller and with short-range gun capability, but fast.

General Patton has once said, "The important thing in tank battle is whether Shermans could move rapidly to the back of the German Panzer and hit them back," That was the practice of ancient times, he learnt from "Roma- Carthage" wars. The way to defeat the war elephants of Carthaginians, the foot soldiers would give away to heavy war elephants to the front, then they move to the back of the beast, and they have to spit the elephant with spears behind at the weakest point. These tactics have worked in ancient times. Sherman tanks have also tried to apply the same tactics, but they did not work. In order to hit a German tank, it would be causing the destruction of 4-5 Sherman tanks in fire.

Anyhow low altitude flying aircraft and anti-tank artillery have helped Shermans to overwhelm German Panters. German tanks were stopped by lack of fuel, since the German fuel ship had been sunk in the Mediterranean by the British war ships. Also trucks to transport drinking water were bombed by war aircraft. German tanks left with no fuel, unable to move and lost the desert war. German General Rommel saved himself, by flying back to Germany. But his soldiers were surrendered. Total 340 thousand German POW soldiers were sent by ships to America during WW'2. They picked cotton in Southern cotton fields throughout the entire war. Meanwhile Alabama blacks were enlisted in American army, and they were sent to Europe to save white people.

First encounter of new untested T-34 battle tanks with their German counterparts on the Eastern Front is the best war story. Young Russian tank designer Michael Koshkin drove the first T-34 prototype to prove tank durability all alone 2000 kms from fabrication plant to Moscow and died from pneumonia he got during test drive. It is the saddest human cost of this main battle tank design story. Our Northern neighbor then have produced a total of 84,000 units T-34 battle tanks in WW2 as a series of 5-separate factories. Designers continuously improved design during the war, armor thickened, raised the gun fire power. T-34 tanks of 50,000 have been destroyed in the war, but the rest have the key fighting power to win the war on the Eastern Front.


Sherman tanks were generally weaker than German Tiger and Leopard battle tanks. Their guns were smaller, gun range were shorter, they had thinner armor plates. But these battle tanks could be manufactured in large numbers during WW'2 to beat the capability weakness with high numbers. While Tiger or Leopard tank fires on one of them, other Sherman tanks would circle and hunt the German tank. The same tactic was applied to T-34 versus German tanks. Comrades in the 5-different fabrication plants have produced large number of T-34 battle tanks non-stop, and also improved tank design, tested gun power on captured German tanks on field.

New anti-tank weapons were designed to put fire on battle tanks and kill the tank personnel inside. Armor -piercing explosive projectile bullets with explosive nozzle cone toward the tank interior have worked better in time, keeping battle tanks idle, inactive in the war. They created high flame beam to explode the armor shields. At that point, by melting armor and there were a few thousand degrees Celsius flame exploded into the tank, the crew was burned to death. If ammo was also ignited in the tank, they all suddenly exploded completely. The anti-tank weapons are among those with armor-piercing bullets, as sharp as pencils with tungsten drill bits. Bullets hit the armor, armor is pierced by tungsten pen, enters tank interior, helps blasting ammunition. Today tank designers decorate the tank exterior with high explosive resistant panels. Armor-piercing bullets stand out, giving explosion outside with early response, armor-piercing bullets trigger with early discharge. Providing armor work outside to keep bullet away from entering interior, and therefore are cutting blast effect.

Today, battle tank impact in fighting is limited, due to increasing impact of anti-tank planes A-10, helicopters and land mines. You will recall the pictures of obsolete destructed scrap on the roadside old design armored vehicles and tanks in Iraq war. Saddam's tanks were demolished by helicopters easily. The effects of T-34 battle tanks were ended during Korean war by anti-tank weapons which were effectively and widely used by food soldiers. So new designs were introduced with better armors. War is cruel, inhuman, but one should be strong enough to be deterrent in our environment to survive.


From open sources we understand that the local MBT (main battle tank) design and tests are not yet completed for full scale production. Driving tests are satisfactory. Tanks nee electronic radar shelter against air attacks, electronic camera surveillance systems, land mines detection equipment are to be mounted on tank body and tested. Real war tests are not completed in war conditions. We would expect to test at least one prototype in a war zone, such as in Afghanistan. Coalition forces do not participate into war in Afghanistan just to bring peace to that land. We all know that armies go there to test their new fighting equipment, whether they are battle tanks, or heavy rifles, or helicopters.
British, German, American tanks are being tested there. Test sites of Russian tanks are currently in Chechnya, Ukraine and Syria. Let us know well about the power of Syrian tanks and talk about them. Syria has a total of 4850 units of T-55-62-72 Russian tanks which are obsolete in todays terms. But the latest model T-90 could be given to Syria when suppliers feel necessary, then our new generation battle tanks have to cope with the latest T-90, as well as Abrams of Iraq in future disagreements.

There are only 4- each MBT prototypes in development. 4-batch series fabrication each with 250 units will be initiated from 2016 on. Unit budget price per standard MBT is estimated to be USD 5-6 million. Battle capacity with total 1000-tanks in the region will be a serious show of deterrent force. We need to investigate the neighboring dangers in times of disagreements. Syria has T-55-62-72 obsolete Russian tanks but they could have T-90 tanks in future. Israel army has their own design war tested Merkava M4 battle tanks with front mounted powerful engine. Merkava tanks are the only battle tanks with front engine, all other tanks have rear engines. Iran has some American M60 Pattons, and their own design new battle tanks. American Abrams battle tanks are left in Iraq, however some of them in north military bases were captured by new islamic insurgents. Battle tanks should have electronic remote self destroying capability, which could be activated in case of captures. We understand that those Abrams tanks had that immobilizing capability to make themselves unusable.

New generation main battle tanks should have radar shields against hostile air and land attacks, and should have missile capability against helicopters. Tank also should fix its gun electronically to the enemy target and it should stay steady, shoot and hit while moving at high speed. In the latest models, tank crews are reduced to three personnel since most of ammo loading are organized earlier. Cyber security is also very important since battle tanks are now full of computers almost for each and every task to carry out.


Towards the end of the WW'2, "Giant Tiger" was designed and fabricated by the direct order of Führer. They were very large tanks. They were sent to France front. 70-ton giant battle tanks could not succeed in real war conditions.

Because the roads were narrow, they were unable to maneuver within the settlements , could not make turns or returns. They were too heavy. They could not pass the bridges, you had to make a special bridge. So there is a limit to the size of the tank. At the beginning of the WW'2, German battle tanks were a military success in the Russian steppes. German tanks could hit enemy within 1 km range with high accuracy. The initial hitting range of early T-34 tanks were 500 meters. Therefore they should get close to the German tanks. However, the number superiority, better survival capability difficult winter conditions, easy operation, higher field speed, easy refuel to the remote war theaters, better repair and maintenance capability, all had increased T-34 survival rate at war.

Our land forces used various updates of American M60 and German Leopard tanks in the past. There is no T-34 tank in our list. Starting from year 2016 on, we shall produce 4 batches each with 250 tank units. Although the prototype is designed and produced by one company, we understand that there are three different private companies in the competition to get the order. In fact it is better to distribute the fabrication order to multiple suppliers in Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara, even we should look for more fabrication centers in organized industrial zones of cities like Sivas, Eskişehir, Malatya, Antep.

We have gathered above article with available open intelligence sources through internet web pages, mainly from Wikipedia. If you have any comments, corrections, or advise, you can always write to me,
My E-mail; halukdireskeneli at gmail dot com

We wish all of you and your families a Merry Christmas/ Happy Holidays, and all the best for the New Year 2015.

Prinkipo, 25 December, 2014

Haluk Direskeneli is a graduate of METU’s Mechanical Engineering Department (1973). He has worked in public and private enterprises, US-Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), and in fabrication, basic/detail design, marketing, sales, and in project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as a freelance consultant/energy analyst of thermal power plants, and utilizing his basic/detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities, and research institutions. He is a member of METU Alumni and the Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

TURKEY: Energy & Infrastructure Forecast 2015, Risks and Opportunities

Dear Energy Professional, Dear Colleagues,

Now is the time for our traditional annual forecast for our local energy markets in the New Year 2015. Please do note that economy and business are always shaped by expectations. Market expectations are important in the economic forecasts. At the beginning of each year, there are many economic forecasts made by the nationwide daily newspaper columnists, however as we all see there are almost none made in energy markets other than this one you are now reading. Within our professional capacity, we have tried to outline a draft forecast albeit maybe somewhat irrational/ unfair for the New Year. anyhow it is better to have one, rather than none. Here are our expectations for the New Year 2015;

Local power generation capacity could have reached to +69K MWs in year 2014, and consumption peak is recorded as +39K in last August. Turkey is still at very low annual per capita electricity / production / consumption with approximately +3300 kWh, EU current average is +10K; North American average is +12K.
Electricity demand growth slowed down in 2014. Slowdown in local demand for electricity in the first quarter 2015 will continue. Other than early winter shortages, electricity prices will not increase in throughout 2015.
Privatization of nationwide electricity "Distribution" and "Generation" are almost completed in 2014. "WholeSale market" and "Unbundling" process are ongoing. National electricity "Retail" systems will develop in 2015.

Local Gas consumption is expected to be +50 billion Sm3 in year 2014. In 2015, Iran may not cut-off Natural Gas flow due to excessive needs of during harsh winter conditions in her own domestic market. In case of any winter interruption, Russians will increase supply capacity in the Blue Stream for a substantial premium as usual.
Gas flow from Iran to Turkey will be easier since US sanctions over Iranian exports are expected to be lifted soon after finalization of Nuclear talks in Geneva. That may cause more uninterrupted gas from Iran for long term, although gas price will not be reduced, but stay stable for medium term. Gas is still too expensive. Western Gas is now approx. 11.00 US Dollars per MMBTU as of Dec-2014 at our western border. Turkish natural gas demand will begin to fall due to counter measures taken, probably by the second half of the year. Accelerated increase in local fuel prices, is expected, after the general elections which will take place in June 2015.

Part of Western natural gas pipeline supply by Russia's Gazprom is placed to local companies. We expect market share wars between them.
TransAnatolian Pipeline Tanap project is in fast-track agenda. Nabucco is closed.
New "South Stream" underwater pipeline from Russia to Thrace border, is recently announced. It needs time for full realization.
Northern Iraq oil and gas pipelines are on hold due to civil war in Syria.

Shale gas
It is too early to expect any substantial "Shale Gas" production in our country. There are two specific regions for exploration, but gas production can not be realized overnight. On the other hand, "Shale gas" boom in the USA will reduce gas prices in the spot market for sure. Europeans are reluctant since cracking process may trigger earthquakes, and huge amount of injection water is polluted.

Gas fired Combined cycle power plants
We expect less number of investments for new natural gas fired  Combined Cycle power plants due to increasing Current Account Deficiency. There are still new investments in Kırıkkale, Thrace Çorlu, Adapazarı, Ankara Kazan, Kırşehir, Bandırma, Mersin, Kırklareli, Izmit on gas fired combined cycle power plants.
We do not know who will supply the necessary gas for these new gas fired plants, and at what price.

Iranian Nuclear talks
Iranian Nuclear strike capability makes Israel nervous. Although "G5+ Iran" has already agreed on nuclear settlement for non-aggressive nuclear use, Israel may still initiate surprise attack to Iran which may lead to global energy crises in the world. So we should be on the safe side and we should have increased underground gas storage capability and fuel storage facilities.

Russians started to outsource all non-critical equipment for Akkuyu Nuclear Power plant, starting from local civil works, high capacity steam turbines, instrumentation and controls, due to experience on serious shortage of available commercial financing. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report approval is received in late 2014.
Since the ongoing nuclear project is not commercial, but purely political, political financing for that gigantic figure is not so easy. Political risks of a nuclear power plant project cannot be properly estimated; hence non-commercial project has no commercial meaning.
Hot seawater will be a chronic problem for plant cooling system in Akkuyu.
Sinop Nuclear power plant project is awarded to "Japan+ French" consortium. An Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) was signed between Government of Republic of Turkey, and Government of Japan on 3rd May 2013 for the construction of Sinop NPP.
We suspect if Japanese commercial companies can secure approx. 22 plus billion US Dollar project financing. We shall wait and see the outcome. They may face financing difficulties, although local public company EÜAŞ will get 35% equity partnership.
Sinop Nuclear Plant site is in the thick forest. Local "Forest Law" and compensation for demolished "trees" would be a great burden on the project budget in the long term.
Cold sea water is better for overall efficiency and for nuclear power plant cooling systems. Therefore the next nuclear power plant sites are expected to be on the BlackSea coast line, maybe in İğneada on the NorthWest and Hopa on NorthEast.
New nuclear power plants are expected to be close to metropolitan cities with heavy demand, so Kırıkkale-Ankara, Aliağa-İzmir, and even Kemerköy-Muğla are possible new sites in long term consideration. French, Korean, Chinese Nuclear companies may participate to these new nuclear power plant investment projects in future.

3x210 MWe Yatağan- 2x210MWe Yeniköy- 3x201MWe Kemerköy thermal power plants in southwest of Turkey are privatized in 2014. After plant sales, renovation, rehab, re-power or complete demolition are expected by the investor.
Imported coal firing 2x600 MWe new thermal plant could be build at seaside Kemerköy plant site in the long term. Summer holiday facilities can also be considered at the plant site with complete reutilization.
Local hard coal firing 2x150 MWe Çatalağzı-B thermal power plant in Zonguldak county on the BlackSea coast is also sold. Orhaneli 210 MWe, Tunçbilek 430MWe thermal power plants are also privatized in late 2014.
Due to low investor appetite both local and international, privatization strategy will be reconsidered in order to increase the ongoing high income based tendering process.

We expect new investment initiatives on new found coal mine fields in Konya Karapınar, Afyon Dinar, Eskişehir-Alpu in order to build new thermal power plants under locally developed clean coal technologies.
Local coal firing new thermal power plant constructions in Bolu Göynük, Eskişehir Mihalıccık, Bursa Keles (EIA reactions), Manisa Soma, Adana Tufanbeyli (two separate plants 700 MWe and 450 MWe) are in construction progress.
Thermal power plant investments in NorthWest BlackSea coast are expected to be on hold for a while due to  ongoing EIA scheme, and due to high reaction of local environmentalists. 
Local Regulation of foreign personnel employment is changed, so cheap foreign employment from FarEast countries is not possible any more.
Situation in Soma for new 510 MWe thermal power plant seems to be on hold due to local reactions to olive tree deforestation. Investor company should look for nearby empty land to build new  thermal power plant.
Moreover there are a number of imported coal firing new thermal power plant applications for Bay of Iskenderun, Soma, around Sea of Marmara, Bay of Aliağa but public authorities are quite reluctant for approval due to high impact of imported coal on "Current Account Deficit (CAD)".

Afşin Elbistan

Due to ongoing high environmental pollution, no sufficient filters, no desulphurization, no rehab, it is our sincere recommendation that existing Unit Afşin Elbistan-A group, should be shut down, dismantled and sold as scrap. However A-group is now in longterm hand-over process in privatization. After take-over, new plant installation is strongly recommended.
Elbistan Çöllolar coal fields landslide disaster was forgotten after the event. Reutilization will be enforced after legal procedures are completed. De-watering- drying of the landslide region is continued. Hurman Creek riverbed is changed, it will flow from north without passing through the mine field.
Çöllolar coal mine field will be in preparation by the end of next year, and only after normalization of coal fields in Çöllolar, then AfşinElbistan-B plant can work at higher capacity factor.
Afşin Elbistan Coal is supplied to the plants at about 1.75-1.80 US Dollars per MMBTU, which is quite competitive. But calorific value is too low. So we need to have proven coal firing technology for the local coal.
Afşin Elbistan-B plant has proven technology for firing local nearby coal. However two units are now out of operation. Second unit had fire accident in boiler dust filters. Third unit had steam turbine break down. Repair works are recently tendered. It will need at least minimum two years for complete operation.
New international partners are sought for Afsin Elbistan C-E. We presume that the tender activity is a long-term wishful thinking.

Investment appetite in Wind capacity is almost saturated, Environmental concerns will be on the agenda. High voltage transmission lines are missing. Huge investment is needed for those new transmission lines for more aggressive wind power integration. However investments will continue at a moderate level at about 300-500 MW per year.

Investment in Solar energy is relatively little. Without making local fabrication of the solar equipment; one cannot go further with expensive electricity generation. Only household small scale electricity generation could be implemented.
Electric cars / buses are in agenda, but we shall all ask who will be paying high cost of new transformers due to additional heavy pulse load.

HEPP investment projects receive severe reactions of local people, and reactions will continue on all legal platforms.

Climate change
Nationwide CO2 emissions will increase ever more with the ongoing coal firing investments. It is a great national dilemma difficult to solve in our energy hungry local market. How do we run away the climate change obligations? We shall have low profile participations of the public sector.

Local fabrication
Although there are a number of preliminary meetings in the Ministry, in the local fabrication associations, in various NGO groups, still local design, local fabrication, local engineering for thermal power plants do not exist yet. New public tendering procedures give price advantage to proposals with local fabrication.

Electricity Transmission lines
Construction of Thracian HV AC Submarine transmission crossing Dardanelles Channel will be completed soon. New crossings are planned. 
Construction activities for Submarine HVDC cable, gas and water supply pipelines from Turkey to Northern Cyprus will continue.

International relations
Turkey is to return to her historical motto "peace at home, peace in the world", principle rather than "precious loneliness". "Precious loneliness" is too costly foreign policy. No hostility is foreseen between democratic countries Greece, Israel and Turkey, however pushing for fair share of nearby natural resources is the rule of the game in international politics. Democracies do not make war between each other. Public forces/ votes force them to compromise.

Offshore East Med
East Med Cyprus offshore drilling work did not reveal expected results. Offshore Contractor Company is not comfortable with the early results. South Cyprus media and their government with wishful thinking still push positive expectations, trying to keep the case in international investment agenda with high hopes, but the situation seems not so promising, the investor does not want to gamble any more, return is not earlier than 10 years in time.
Israel Offshore fields are proven but they have production storage and transmission problems. These problems can not be solved before we have stable peace on East Med waters.
Black Sea Offshore drilling is a never-ending story at our end, everyone is talking about very large reserves, but there is nothing in reality.

Change of power in Syria is not foreseen in the short term. However influx of refugee number will get increased to 2 million soon. It is too alarming situation. We shall need approximately 10 billion US Dollars in 2015 for the Syrian refugees. This is a great burden on our economy. Our streets are full of desperate Syrian refugees. Street crime is on rise. Drastic changes in the current international relations policies are deemed necessary.

We should participate to Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP. That is vital task in 2015 for all public & private authorities. It is too costly to stay outside.

Not only the Ministry of Environment but also the Government is expected in reshuffle. Change in top posts will not be a surprise prior to general elections in June 2015.
The secondary legislation of the Energy Ministry is still in preparation. Some of new regulations in preliminary nature are released for public review. The Minister may leave his post in the next municipality and general elections due to party restrictions.
We expect reorganization as well as restructuring in Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources in order to reduce staff, to reassess duties and responsibilities...
EMRA needs to be reorganized and restructured, and Agency may be divided into two, maybe three. EMRA licensing will go on with reduced speed, copy / paste applications for license overrun archives. Rejection is still less than 2%. Most projects are on hold.
Each and every incentive/ every good intention are abused with extreme care”, so political power is reluctant to issue new energy incentives, especially on imported fossil fuel firing new power plants.  Current account deficit (CAD) is in sever situation due to increased spending on imported coal and imported natural gas purchases, at intolerable levels. Increased use of domestic coal / energy sources  should be encouraged.

We are happy to see that "High Speed Train" investments are on track. Ankara- Istanbul railway is completed in 2014. Ankara- Izmir, Sivas, Erzurum are in progress. We hope to have more intercity metro line constructions.

General Elections
Turkey will enter into a period of nationwide frenzy general elections in year 2015. In new general elections, all of 3-term MPs will leave Parliament and Ministerial posts. Ministries of Energy, Economy, as well as Treasury will miss their strong leadership.  That is a great risk in macro economy administration.

Investment Environment
Almost all existing thermal power plants are in privatization, but investment appetite is low because of the ongoing global economic crisis and impact of June 2013 Gezi Park public uprising. The same tendency may continue in the second half of next year.

Western Foreign investors have lost their appetite in our energy markets; and domestic investors do not have money. International investors are looking for simple legal terms in the environment, such as "rule of law", and "transparency". On the other hand investors of oil rich Middle East countries may still have increased appetite.

Local real estate bubble may face difficulties and few bankruptcy may appear.
We face project finance difficulties on controversial mega projects. We have growing "current account deficit". Drastic measures" on public spending will continue in 2015. 

In recent popular social media, in tweeter, facebook, whats-up, investors are more or less incorrectly/ but implicitly represented as negative profiles, it is alarmingly too deceptive. That public profile should be corrected.

Consolidation in electricity generation business will increase with M&A's. Few bankruptcies may take place. In principle, we would recommend individuals to reduce expenditures, reduce spending, reduce borrowing, and stay cash, stay liquid.  Everyone in business environment says that 2015 will be another difficult year. We were able to predict this much.

We shall be too pleased to receive your comments/ contributions in the New Year. Happy and Prosperous New Year to you all!

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of METU Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Ankara, December 2014,
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