Saturday, September 20, 2014

What's new in 2014-2015 season at the Turkish Opera?


Dear Readers,

As summer comes to a close, we look forward to the new season in arts. Let’s look at the new opera season today. Unlike their counterparts in other countries, Turkish opera companies do not announce their plans ahead of time. Most commonly, the Turkish opera company program announcements arrive only two to four weeks in advance. As we tried to glean the new season plans of opera companies through a variety of sources and will report here, albeit the plans are not yet final.

First, a bit of news from the past summer: Ankara State Opera performed Mozart's "Abduction from the Seraglio" in Sicily's Taormina city Opera festival on 6th September to great acclaim.

Official web site dobgm.gov.tr is recently renewed for new season. But it is still not finalized since the most programs are not officially announced. From various sources, we have gathered the new opera program but it is still not final yet.

We have great opera works in Izmir opera house.
Season starts on 1st october with Verdi's "Aida" opera.
Then we shall have Puccini's "Madame Butterfly".
This year "Tosca" will be on stage.
Brahms’s "Requiem" will be performed in concert.
In the current repertoire, we have
Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" and "Regiment's Daughter",
Handel’s "Agrippina",
Bellini's "La Sonnambula" (Sleepwalking Girl).
We should see all of them multiple times to compare different casts.

The number of opera locations are now reached to 5(five) now. Alhambra, Sabanci cultural center, Ahmet Adnan Saygun cultural center, Karsiyaka, Bostanli. In addition, we have university auditoriums, and ancient theaters available venues for opera performances.

Ankara Opera house will open the new season with Bizet's "Carmen" on 1st October. In the repertoire, we shall have
Verdi's "Rigoletto", "Macbeth" and "Attila",
Strauss "Die Fledermause" (the bat)
Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and "Abduction from the Seraglio".

We have learnt that Wagner's "Das Rheingold" opera is in preparation in early 2015. Furthermore we shall have opera concerts in Bilkent, Odeon, Congressium and Presidential Symphony.

Istanbul Sureyya opera house will perform
Verdi "La Traviata"
Donizetti "L'Elixir d'amore"
Strauss "Ariadne on Naxos "
Offenbach "Tales of Hoffman"
Rossini "La Cenerentola" (Cinderella)
Bellini "La Sonnambula" (Sleepwalking Girl)

The biggest opera house in Istanbul, Ataturk cultural center in Taksim square is still closed for never ending renovation. Fulya and Bakirkoy new concert halls are suitable for opera performances, but they still do not have regular opera programs yet.

Istanbul Zorlu Center for the Performing Arts (Zorlu PSM) will host London Royal Opera House artists to perform Puccini's "La Boheme" on 18-20-22-24 January 2015. Tickets are available to buy from internet, and Prices are changing between 95-350 Turkish Lira. Zorlu PSM is an entirely commercial identity with 2500 audience capacity.

In Samsun, the recent opera performances are
Franz Lehar's "The Merry Widow",
Mozart "The Magic Flute"
In Repertoire, we shall have,
Puccini "Madame Butterfly" and "La Boheme".
Opera Season in Samsun will start on 24 September with Carl Orf's "Carmina Burana" concert on stage.

In Mersin, in the historical cultural center from late Ottoman, Levantine Period, we shall have,
Puccini "La Boheme" and "Madame Butterfly",
Bizet's "Carmen"

In Antalya, in the Modern Culture center, we shall have following operas in the repertoire.
Verdi "La Traviata,"
Puccini "Tosca"
Mozart "The Marriage of Figaro" and "Don Giovanni",
Ali Hoca "Tulip Craze",
Verdi "Macbeth,"
Handel "Hercules",
Rossini " A Turk in Italy "will be on stage.

If we shall be in a metropolitan city with an opera house for any reason such as business meeting, seminar, fair, conference, we have to check for an opera program at least 15-days or 1-month earlier to buy tickets at night for opera. We should not limit ourselves only for local operas, but we should check opera programs in Moscow, St.Petersburg, Paris, london, NewYork, Sydney, Berlin, Milan as well. On business trips to overseas, an opportunity to see an opera performance would be great personal gain.

YouTube releases past opera performances in full. Munich opera house broadcasts live opera performance almost every month. London Royal opera house, NewYork metropolitan opera house have similar internet broadcasts with some paid subscriptions.

You should not go to opera performances unprepared. You should listen to its music at home, in the car, at work, by playing cassettes, CD, iPod, mp3 player, radio, PC, whatever you have. You can open up youtube on you PC, nonstop multiple times for at least 2-3 days prior to the live performance you will watch on stage. Each note of music, each melody should be in your mind. It is not necessary to take conservatory training in order to enjoy opera music.

Opera performances are to get critics, it is not important whether it is good or bad. If there is no critics, it is not good at all. On the other hand, we critics are not supposed to love every performance.

We should buy program booklet. One for each audience is to be distributed. Do not try to read the booklet prior to opera performance. You should read the topic much earlier. Do not try to read the digital translations. Enjoy the live music.

After the opera performance, spend half an hour in nearby coffee shop, drink black coffee with no sugar to keep yourself awake while driving. In the meantime, crowd is dispersed, it becomes easier to drive or find a taxi to return home. We wish all the best for all Opera lovers.

Prinkipo, 25-Sep, 2014

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.



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Energy Market Analysis for the 2016 American Presidential Elections

Dear Readers,

The next Presidential elections in the United States will be in year 2016. In the last two-term Obama administration, American Democrats appear to be worn-out. Obama's cautious, rational foreign policy and his economic and geopolitical expectations were not enough. Democrats were unable to perform most of their social promises, i.e. ObamaCare.

Oil in the Middle East and Europe gas supply pipeline in Ukraine could not be controlled. The necessary precautions could not be taken upfront. They could not control events. Early preventive interventions could not be enforced in times of crisis. The interventions which are being considered in Northern Iraq and Eastern Syria against terrorist establishments were too late, hence the enemy is unclear to specify. Fighting on land in this region is too risky, it is much better to avoid interference which seems auspicious in times of conflict in the Middle East in order not to get harmed.

Democratic presidential candidate Mrs. Hillary Clinton (66) will have hard times to persuade the majority of the eligible US voters. When she was the Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton has lost credibility in her late responses during crisis especially in Benghazi,Libya and her mismanagement in the incident what happened to the late American Ambassador. Those unpleasant incidents, her delays in action, her security weaknesses and her mismanagement to give proper attention to the crisis have cost her loss of the great prestige. She graduated from Yale law School and worked as attorney in her own office. 

During her post- ministerial period, Mrs. Hillary Clinton released her new book on her experiences in her tenure in the State Department. The name of her book is "Hard Choices". In her book, she writes in careful language to describe the merits of our new Prime Minister "The Hodja".

Mrs. Hillary Clinton appreciates his academic knowledge, his intellectual capability. However she also says that his academic capability is not updated with the current world events, with his new political experiences.

Similarly new US Secretary of State, John Kerry has discomfort in their mutual press conferences. When his counterpart starts long sentences which are prepared during his past academic studies from his memory, whether it is related or unrelated with the current situation, the face expressions of Mr. Kerry become changed. He stops listening and interrupts the conversation. He is bored with the same pre-prepared conference wording. John Kerry has majored in political science at Yale University in 1960s. He was a Vietnam war veteran, decorated with war medals. In his later years he joined anti-war movement and he had wide experience in world politics. He fluently speaks French and some other foreign languages which is not so usual for an US Secretary of State since most top level American politicians do not speak foreign languages. There is a common feeling that an American who speaks a foreign language is probably an immigrant.

Mr. Kerry was the Democratic presidential candidate in the past and he lost the general elections to George W. Bush. So he can not be re-nominated in the next elections. Similarly former Republican candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney have little chance to get re-nominated, since they both lost the past elections.

Yesterday was left in yesterday. Ottoman period in the Middle East is in the long past with nice pleasant memories for modern Turks. Ottomans were wiped out of the history in 1918. Since 1918, the world has faced with WW1, WW2, Korean war, Vietnam war, Afghan war, Iraq war. All these wars reshaped the world, as well as strategies, and policies. In the Islamic world, especially the Arab world has their own expectations, their own visions, their own policies, and none wants to have a big brother to tell what to do on this behalf.

Every individual country has his own national policy to fulfill their own ambitions. Particularly in complex Arab world, we must understand that new Ottomans, namely new Turks can not lead this region, as in the past centuries. World history did not end with the exhaustion of the Ottomans in 1918.

Those long distances which were passed by walking or on horseback, are now completed in very short period of time on choppers in today's modern armies. Weapons are changed. Their destruction capabilities have reached to immense levels. From the other end of the world, unmanned aerial vehicles are flown over enemy lines without taking risk of any human casualty. Battles are moved to other mediums, such as virtual space. Internet, Youtube, Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, Linkedin are used for intelligence gathering and in psychological warfare.

From consulting to the President, to high prestigious job of US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger's rising career is very interesting. Kissinger was born in Bavaria Germany in year 1923 to a Jewish family. They emigrated to USA in 1938. In WW2, he fought in Germany with the rank of US Sergeant. After the war, with the support of "GI Bill" scholarship for the war veterans, he joined to Harvard University and earned his doctorate degree (Ph.D) in political science. He was then invited to the Presidential circle as the political consultant with high academic credentials. He became US Secretary State between 1973-77. Over time, he became very successful. He created new applications such as "Shuttle diplomacy", "détente" in new international relations into practice. Despite of ongoing hot war between US and Vietnam, he operated secret negotiations with North Vietnam, and he has made a huge contribution to the termination of the war. He received the Nobel peace prize. Since he was not born in the USA, he had no right to be a Presidential candidate.

Among the Republican candidates, there are former deputies of presidential candidates, state governors, former advisors to Presidents.
We have candidate names, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Condolleez Rice, and more.

We feel that the most important candidate, is the younger brother of former President George W.Bush, namely Florida Governor "Jeb" Bush (61). Please do note his name. Although his mother "Barbara Bush" is very reluctant for the third Presidential candidate from her family, if the "Bush" family decides to promote the youngest "Bush", they have definitely high chance of winning the game. He is a graduate of University of Texas, from Department of International Relations with major in Latin America. He speaks Spanish fluently. He will surely get all Latin votes. He will the first Latin President in the USA.

If Republicans win the Presidential elections, they do not hesitate to interfere the hot wars in the Middle East, in order to secure their energy supply routes. For better national economic output, for more growth, to earn more money in new conventional weapon manufacturing, they love to move not only with air force but also by foot soldiers on land for hot wars in the Middle East, namely Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya etc. We worry that all these war initiatives affect us directly in our geography.

It is our sincere feeling that Pan-Islamic, New Ottoman foreign policies are to be avoided by all means, since they are not practical, nor have any meaning in the fragile insecure unreliable relations in the top level decision makers of the lands of the Middle East. New energy policies, new energy diplomacy, new ways of security in communications, warfare and technological superiority will heavily dominate the foreign relations.

Ankara, 16 September, 2014



Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public and, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as a 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 the Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

http://www.turkishweekly.net

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The New Political and Economic Era in Turkey

Dear Readers,

International investors of the business world love to read strategic forecast reports. These reports give a preliminary road map to help them know how to navigate in the future. They also originate from local environments and are therefore valued by the investors as they unmask local sensitivities. I hope that the report you are now reading will warrant your attention and appreciation. Please feel free to comment after reading.

In the free and democratic elections for the office of the President of the Republic of Turkey, the former prime minister was elected by 51.8% of the electorate. He was sworn in and quickly moved on to fulfill his responsibilities as the new president.

The new Prime Minister was chosen by the majority party, although we all know that this was not through democratic free elections but by direct appointment as per the "Dilbert Principle" of the famous US cartoonist.

The new Turkish Prime Minister has been referred to as "Hodja" (teacher) seeing that he is a former university academician. It is known that he was not elected, but appointed by the President because he fulfilled the certain preconditions for this post. A new prime minister should be a member of parliament, member of the majority party’s executive committee, and should not serve in excess of a maximum of 3-terms as stipulated by party regulations.

Now a new era is dawning. How do we expect our new President to rule our country? In his new presidential term, is he going to rule with the powers of an "absolute leader/monarch" as is the case in the US and in France? We are skeptical that such an option will become a reality as the Turkish Constitution has not been changed by the Turkish Parliament to open the door to such extended powers.

We can say that it will be difficult to change the legislation in this regard. Up to a point, the new President can enforce some new measures under the existing applicable laws, but for the application of total and absolute power, the legal conditions remain largely absent.

According to the Turkish Constitution, it is currently the Prime Minister who possesses the absolute executive authority to govern the country, whether by designating the budget, making political decisions, allocating public spending, or deciding where to invest. We are about to observe a slow but definite power struggle, albeit rarely publicized. So what does this "new era" entail in the future?

We, the people of the business community, want our elected government to be successful in its endeavors. Each democratically elected government is our government, and we fully support its decisions. And we expect our government to make the right decisions, creating peace at home and with our neighbors, securing our national unity and our borders, keeping inflation and interest rates low, increasing investment, boosting national economic growth, cutting down the "current account deficit" (CAD), reducing unemployment, and increasing everyone’s share of national wealth and access to education and health care services.

A successful democratic government facilitates the success of our own businesses. We are in the business world, and we flourish only if our government flourishes, therefore, we wholeheartedly hope for the success of our government.

"Hodja" has valuable academic credentials. He was the foreign policy adviser to the Prime Minister, was later appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and recently became a member of parliament.

Earlier he wrote numerous academic and popular newspaper articles. He speaks German, English, and Arabic. He holds a bachelor's degree from the prestigious Bosphorus University in Istanbul with a double major in economics and political science. He also completed his Ph.D. degree at the same university. He is happily married with four well-educated children, two of which are already married. His wife is a very successful obstetrician MD working in a private clinic in Istanbul.

"Hodja" published a book entitled "Strategic Depth (2001)", which was a compilation of his past popular articles in academic and popular journals, putting forth a Pan-Islamist, Neo-Ottoman approach to international affairs in the modern world. To this day, the book has had 91 new editions, all in the Turkish language, but has not yet been updated or supplemented with and major changes in its intellectual content or prevailing arguments.

During his tenure as Turkey’s Foreign Minister, "Hodja" engaged in dialogue with his counterparts from other countries with ease, and influenced them with his broad academic background and vast intellectual knowledge. He advocated the policy of "zero problems with neighbors", and even though it ultimately backfired due to unforeseen, unfortunate developments in the Middle East, all the blame should not be placed on him and him alone.

He is an academician by trade, not a career diplomat. He has limited background on putting his academic work to practice in the Foreign Ministry and has acquired only on-the-job diplomatic training. Although he spent some time at a Malaysian university, he has almost no experience working alone in completely foreign environments, and his ability to empathize with foreign missions is yet to be truly tested.

His background was gained in the lecture halls, where he has spent long hours with his undergraduate and graduate students. Yet everyone has the same question in mind, "if he were not appointed, could he have been democratically elected at the ballot box?!" The answer will be made clear in the nationwide general elections to be held in June of 2015.

When Hodja takes the podium, he can academically postulate for hours on end. For a new listener, his vast intellectual capability is impressive as his speeches are similar to the lectures one could hear in a university course at the department of international relations. Yet, the audience can quickly bore of such stultifying orations. For every occasion he has well-prepared academic documents, whose lengthy, rehearsed contents he reproduces and duplicates in different meetings and settings, regardless of who the audience may be. One has to be reminded that Hodja can probably recite lecture material for every single class of a 4-year bachelors program in International Relations from memory.

Will Hodja limit himself only to foreign policy issues during his office as PM? That is impossible. Will he make radical changes to his Pan-Islamist, Neo-Ottoman ideas over time? We shall see. Will he implement successful and effective domestic and economic policies? How is he going to manage the economy? After a very charismatic and dominant personality that saw unprecedented success on the local level and held the prime ministerial office before him, is he going to be effective? Will the former PM (now the President) interfere in his day-to-day decisions and rule as he pleases?

We feel that it will take some time for Hodja to learn to govern, and that in time he will be very effective. Hodja will change. He has to change, otherwise he will fail and loose the next general elections. This is his "Dilemma", his inescapable "Paradox". We shall all visualize the change he calls "Restoration" in his party meetings, in his public speeches, in his new revisions to his famous book "Strategic Depth".

Departing from the prime minister, positive monetary indices related to the international financial markets, foreign direct investment, and the local stock market have shown that the ministers in charge of Turkey’s treasury and finance ministry are indispensable. As far as it concerns these individuals, the majority party's self-imposed three-term limitation may not apply. While they may not be elected in the upcoming elections as deputies, they may continue their ministerial duties until the top political decision-makers find similarly reputable replacements. This is also the case for the Central Bank Governor, who is very likely to continue his charge for some time to come.

Those deputies (members of parliament) who will complete their maximum three-terms in parliament, will not be appointed to the party ticket in the next general elections based on party procedure. This means that they will have time to recharge, time to rest, time to reflect.

They may return to their commercial family enterprises to work, to earn money. They may join universities if they have academic titles. They may share their political experience with other political institutions. They may take on national and international functions. Although not typical in the Turkish context, they may even write books on their past experience in the parliament.

The new Prime Minister, "Hodja", will quickly learn the ins-and-outs of domestic politics, how to manage the local economy, and how to speak intelligibly to the public. He will feel the heavy burden of the current account deficit (CAD) which is now at $60 billion. He will look for solutions on how to cope with our dependence on fuel imports and how to halt and reverse our ever-increasing foreign debt which has already reached $400 billion.

He will try to find a solution to the Syrian refugee dilemma, as their numbers approach 2 million. He will observe the geographies of Syria and Iraq from a different angle in order to seek new, better and more applicable solutions. We will see his Pan-Islamic, and Neo-Ottoman ideas pass through "Restoration". A new "Strategic Depth" will be considered. Meanwhile, Hodja's hair will grow gray with the weight of his great responsibility.

The fragility of the domestic economy will increasingly be felt. The appreciation of the US Dollar and the debate between floating and fixed currencies will be a constant issue. The real-estate market bubble will need to be addressed. Market behavior and investment dynamics will be carefully monitored. Hodja’s political effectiveness will ultimately increase in time. We shall witness his ever-increasing political efficacy in party meetings, in his public speeches, in his encounters with foreign prime ministers, and in the upcoming 2015 general elections.

Prinkipo, 30 September, 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, 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.

http://www.turkishweekly.net


Saturday, September 06, 2014

"Energy" Chapter of the 62nd Turkish Government's New Program


Dear Readers,

The 62nd Turkish government has recently announced its new program. The "Energy" chapter is described on pages 148-152 of the document in Turkish. Let us read and evaluate what is targeted in the "Energy" chapter of this new program.

***

Energy is one of the most strategic areas of the modern world. In recent years, past governments have dedicated ample resources to create a greater capacity of electricity generation, diversify energy resources, emphasize renewable energy, and to privatize energy generation and distribution facilities.

In this context, we had approximately 31,000 MWe of installed power in 2002, whereas we now have 67,431 MWe as of July 2014. Similarly, while we produced 129 billion kWh of electricity in 2002, as of 2013 this same figure has been raised to 242 billion kWh.

We resolved to increase the electricity generated from renewable energy sources, and put an energy efficiency strategy into practice.

We shall survey and attempt to exploit the indigenous and renewable energy resources to their highest potential in the coming period.

In particular, the hydroelectric power plant projects which were commissioned in 2003 have increased their annual electricity generation rates from 26 billion kWh to 79 billion kWh today. In the last three years we have commissioned hydroelectric power plants that will produce a total of 6,450 MW.

Indigenous lignite coal resources are extremely important for our thermal power plants. We have huge lignite coal reserves in the Afşin-Elbistan, Konya Karapınar, Afyon Dinar, and Eskişehir Alpu coal fields that are ready for investment initiatives to spark greater electricity generation.

In addition to the coal production from these mines that will feed into the development of thermal power plant projects, investment incentive schemes have also been implemented in order to prompt more positive growth to this end in the medium-term.

We will also accelerate our work on the establishment of nuclear power plants.

The privatization of public electricity distribution companies has now been completed, and in the future we shall continue to privatize local electricity generation facilities.

By 2023, it is our goal to substantially increase the economic and social development of our society. To this end we aim to meet our domestic energy demand, providing uninterrupted, safe, low-cost energy to the end consumer by diversifying our energy resources and technologies and increasing the security of our energy supply.

In order to produce greater amounts of energy, we shall develop our civilian nuclear capabilities and expand thermal and renewable energy projects by utilizing local resources to their highest potential while minimizing the adverse effects on the environment. At the same time we will continue to make use of our strategic position that is strengthened by competition in the international energy system.

In order to increase supply security of primary energy resources, we shall place greater emphasis on balanced resource diversification.

In Mersin Akkuyu and in Sinop, we shall commission 8 different nuclear power units capable of producing a combined total output of 9,280 MW.

Thermal power plants which will be powered by local coal are nearing completion and will contribute a total of 18,500 MW to the Turkish energy sector.

Almost all of our hydroelectric projects will become operational, providing 20,000 MW of additional power. The major hydroelectric projects in Ilısu, Boyabat, and Alpaslan-2 will soon be complete.

In addition, our wind energy turbines will produce 20,000 MW, planned geothermal power plants will exhibit a minimum capacity of 600 MW, and solar energy will generate 3,000 MW. Therefore, in the end, the share of our energy that will be generated by renewable resources in the year 2023 will constitute 30% of the country’s overall energy production.

We are entering a new era of solar energy. The world's largest solar power plant will start operating in the province of Konya in the future. This new solar power plant investment with a capacity of 3,000 MW will generate about 6 billion kWh annually. We will make the province of Konya the solar energy hub of our nation.

Prior to 2003, only nine provinces had access to natural gas distribution facilities, now in 2013, however, 72 of our country’s provinces benefit from this access. We shall invest further to incorporate the remaining nine provinces which require special care to overcome technical difficulties and high construction costs so that all our provinces will have access to natural gas.

We give great importance to the security of our natural gas supply. In this respect, we are committed to diversifying our supply sources and increasing the number of underground gas storage facilities. Turkey’s first operational underground natural gas storage facilities can be found in the North Marmara and Değirmenköy regions. The first phase of the Lake Tuz (Salt) underground storage facility, that will boast a storage capacity of 500 million m3, is expected to be completed by 2016.

In 2002, annual investments for oil exploration and production amounted to approximately $100 million. That figure was brought up to $910 million by 2012.

Construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline is now finished and we have commenced work on the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (Shah Deniz) natural gas pipeline project. Our share in the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz Stage 2 project has jumped to around 20 percent, making Turkey the project’s second largest shareholder.

An intergovernmental agreement that will facilitate the transportation of Azeri gas through Turkey to Europe via the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) has now been signed.

The first phase of the Turkish-Greek natural gas pipeline, dubbed the South European Gas Ring Project, has been completed and the pipeline has begun to export gas to neighboring countries.

On one hand, we aim to convert the Ceyhan sea port to the second largest energy terminal in Europe. On the other hand, we are trying to ensure the security of our supply while taking the necessary measures to become an energy transit country.

Turkey is the largest energy market of the Middle East, the Caucasus/Central Asia, and South Eastern Europe/Balkans regions. Turkey shall continue to pursue international projects that link these regions with itself, acting as the local center in the energy trade nexus. In this way it seeks to become a regional energy trade powerhouse and will continue to strategically aim to strengthen its position in this regard.

Our government, our industries, and our energy sector give priority to the development of our mining capabilities. In 2012, our country's mineral production generated $11.7 billion. The target for 2023 is $20 billion.

In 2002, we received $600 million from our mineral exports, whereas by the end of 2013, this number increased to $5 billion.

In 2002, 100 thousand meters of exploratory drilling was undertaken by those in the public and private sectors. As of 2013, this level jumped to 1 million 500 thousand meters. In 2023, the amount of drilling for mineral exploration purposes is targeted to reach 5 million meters.

Encompassing $900 million in 2013, investment in domestic oil and gas exploration has increased about 9-fold compared to 2002. Additionally, in 2002, the total combined depth of oil and gas bores was only 52 thousand meters in length, while now the total combined depth is about 305 thousand meters in 2013.

In the coming period, we shall continue to explore our mining, oil, gas, and geothermal potentials. In addition, we shall put special emphasis on our marine research facilities with our own research vessel.

Turkey's "black diamond" (local coal) will play an increasingly important role in our energy portfolio. When we (the AKP) took office, 8 billion metric tons of coal were being extracted annually. By drilling, we have now supplemented this amount with an additional 6.8 billion metric tons of coal. Over the past 11 years, we have discovered 11 new coal fields.

***

It can easily be understood that the "Energy" targets of the new, 62nd government’s program were taken from the text of the previous government program. This is because these goals represent a continuation of the former. However, we believe that the new program should be expanded on to promote more local engineering, local design, local manufacturing, and an increase in domestic employment.

This new government will have a 10-month time period to work toward these goals until the next general elections in June 2015.

There are so many lofty targets mentioned in the new program that cannot be achieved within this short 10-month timeframe.

At any rate, the new government should place their own goals and priorities on the agenda to supplement those that were established earlier regardless if the new program is presumed to be a continuation of the former government’s approach, a reality that was indicated with the government’s declaration that it would pursue the same energy policies.

Seeing that past figures and aims of the earlier government are repeated in the new government program, we feel that there is no need for the current government to speak for far-off future targets as this program should be meant for a transition period.

Moreover, we notice no mention of the new combined cycle power plant projects or new power plants that will operate on imported combustible fuels. Is this an indication of political reluctance to promote these investments?

Likely, due to the adverse effects of natural gas and imported fuel prices in the international spot markets on the ever-growing "current account deficit", there is no mention of price fluctuations.

The Government Program has received the vote of confidence in the Turkish Parliament on the 5th of September, 2014. We wish great success to our new, 62nd Government in attaining their "Energy" targets as well as in completing all other measures that have been mentioned in the document.


Ankara, 15 September, 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, 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.

http://www.turkishweekly.net

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Energy Market Dynamics

Dear Readers,
The Soma mine disaster which took place on the 13th of May, 2014 resulted in the highest loss of human life caused by a man-made structure in the last 40-years globally. It is for sure that the accident occurred due to poor safety measures and priority being given to coal production rather than the safety norms which are to be upgraded to the level of world standards. The Soma disaster stemmed from imprudence.

Your writer believes that local coal is the solution to the ever increasing energy demand within the local market. The high quality coal produced from underground mining is not burned in our local thermal power plants. This rich coal is used in industry, mainly in iron and steel mills. Our local thermal power plants use the nearby open-pit poor quality lignite, sometimes called brown coal, which cannot be utilized elsewhere.
Coal is accused of being the "death trap" of energy sources and we receive many evaluations that we should move away from coal to other sources. This is incorrect. Local coal is a blessing for this country that can be utilized to free ourselves from imported fuel coal-gas, to reduce current account deficiencies (CAD), and to increase supply security. Hydro, wind, and solar energies are not alternatives but supplemental sources of energy generation.
Today, we will cover the latest developments in the local electricity market.
In the year 2002, with an amendment to the energy law, political authorities chose to reduce the role of public enterprises in energy generation. Preference was given to the private sector in investing and building new power plants. Nowadays, we cannot say that we have created a free market in the energy sector, but we can observe that a certain level of transition has been reached.
In the market liberalization process regarding the use of natural gas in the electricity market, our national pipeline company signed its first purchase agreement for the sale and purchase of gas with Russia’s energy giant, Gasprom, in 1984.
Later, a LNG purchase agreement was signed with Algeria. In the following years, public and private companies made several gas purchase agreements that contributed to the expanded volume of gas use in the local market for household heating as well as electricity generation.
In 1984, the first step taken towards market liberalization of the electricity market was the division of the public energy enterprise into firms responsible for generation (TEAS) and distribution (TEDAS).
In 1994, we had power plant investments in accordance with the Build- Operate- Transfer (BOT) model. Similarly, we initiated the installation of new power plants based on the Build-Own- Operate (BOO) model.
EMRA (the Energy Markets Regulatory Agency) was established in 2001 and TEAS was divided into three companies, namely, EÜAŞ (generation), TEİAŞ (transmission), and TETAŞ (trade). We have created a "free consumer" concept, emphasizing the right of the consumer to choose an electricity supplier that suits his or her requirements.
The financial settlement method finished in 2003 and after the 2006 crisis we employed the electricity balancing and settlement regulation method. Later, in 2010, hourly day-ahead market planning was implemented to enable the smooth transition to free market pricing.
We had previously experienced a shortage of outsourced natural gas in the cold winter months and faced price hikes, trapped without the capability to negotiate.
Problems with the "intraday market" will be overcome through the pushing forward of the transition to this market. Preliminary work has been completed on the intraday market through the new entity EPİAŞ, and progress will be furthered by the end of 2014 as planned.
Our total installed energy generation capacity output has reached about 65,000 MW within the last 10 years, increasing three-fold from earlier times. The private sector now holds a larger share of electricity generation than the public sector.
The total installed capacity of natural gas-fired combined cycle power plants (CCPPs) and imported coal-fired conventional power plants has also begun to hold an important share. The purchase agreements of natural gas-fired CCPPs which were built according to BOO and BOT contracts will come to an end, and then we expect to see new movement in the markets.
With the increasing number of wind power plant installations, Turkey now ranks 10th in Europe in terms of installed wind power. By 2023, we have a target to reach an installed wind electricity capacity of 20,000 MW which is unlikely to be attained. We hope that by accelerating the regulation process of licensing and issuance of new wind energy permits, we can increase wind power generation. Moreover, wind and solar power companies will be able to generate additional income through carbon markets.
Turkey's energy consumption has increased by 7% annually over the last 10 years, hence the doubling of its output capacity. Investors have gained market experience with regards to the growth forecasts which are very important in initiating new investments. BOO and BOT power plants continue to have long-term power purchase agreements for the sale of electricity to the public trading company (TETAŞ). EÜAŞ (the public generation company) and other free power generation companies have bilateral agreements through which energy can be sold to consumers on the spot market. The public trade company (TETAŞ) sells electricity, based on national tariffs, to distribution and retail companies which in turn sell to end consumers.
Electricity produced from renewable energy sources have guaranteed purchase prices which can be sold to retail companies at a premium price. Available electricity in the local market is sold on the ‘day-ahead market’ according to ‘balancing power market’ procedures. Currently, the balancing market has a lack of transparency/openness, as seen in the observation that the existing structure is amenable to manipulation.
In the years to come, however, market shares of EÜAŞ and TETAŞ will decrease as will those of the BOO and BOT power plants, thus allowing different players in the market to maneuver in a more free and competitive structure.
We expect a more transparent structure will be achieved with the help of the Istanbul Stock Exchange, along with its private partnership with EPİAŞ (public), the intraday market, and integration of financial markets.
In Turkey there is also an Over the Counter (OTC) market, a bilateral contract market that works in a more limited capacity and for shorter periods of time. Here, agreements are subject to stamp duty, there are a smaller number of participants, and intermediaries are unique. In the coming years we hope to increase the number of both exhibitors and intermediaries.
In our country, we have a narrow trade volume in the "energy exchange" market. We hope that the Istanbul Stock Exchange will produce a higher volume of energy transactions and expect it to be an active market in future. There are 21 active electricity distribution companies which are expected to be transferred during the retail sales process. Instead of operating with the current national tariff that varies according to the supply point, we hope to adopt a regional price method which would be aimed at resetting the eligible consumer limit to zero.
In the natural gas market, we have a state monopoly on imports, transmission, and marketing that is completely controlled by BOTAŞ. Similar to the unbundling seen in the electricity market, we expect the same in the natural gas market. Most importation is carried out solely by BOTAŞ, yet its market share should decrease in the coming years.
We have been experiencing difficulties due to the low level of supply security of natural gas reserves. In order to have better supply security, our public authorities have introduced an investment plan for new pipelines from northern Iraq, expressed interest in the new offshore gas reserves of Israel/Cyprus, introduced a new LNG terminal in Izmir, increased the capacity of gas fields in northern Marmara, and invested in the exploration of underground gas reserves at Salt Lake (Tuz Gölü).
Our electricity market operates based on a cost-based bidding procedure that is determined by the price of each participant's hourly basic energy input. Via bilateral agreements or YEKDEM (the renewable energy incentive procedure), the electrical energy generated is transferred to the system.
Private plants do not bid in the balancing market, but they do declare estimated production and energy amounts that they are transmitting to the system. According to the total amount of the bids received and the total production demand, forecasts are made at the point when the marginal price the-day-before is decided upon.
The final price for the end consumer is then finalized by taking into consideration the cost of lost and stolen energy, distribution costs, delivery costs, TRT’s (Turkish Radio Television) share, meter reading costs, value added tax, and additional fees such as energy consumption taxes. The fact that TRT receives a share still faces ongoing criticisms. Right now the priority in electricity trading is production optimization and fuel supply security.
In which market the electricity will be sold, at what price, and at what time interval, are the big questions following supply security. The consumption portfolio should be kept broad, same with the production portfolio, and their availabilities should exhibit sufficient flexibility.
In short-term planning, demand forecasting and plant reliability have been gaining importance. In medium-term planning, lasting profitability analysis of the bilateral agreements ought to be in included in the realization of those demand forecasts. In long-term planning, investment objectives should also incorporate the determined final amount of consumer demand.
The number of supply companies in Turkey is far too high, especially considering how essential the amount of companies active in a competitive market is. Compared with samples of the number of suppliers in Europe, we observe that the smaller the number of operations, the better it is for a healthier market.
We hope that this number will decrease over time and that in the long-term, the purchase contracts of EÜAŞ and TETAŞ will come to an end, tariffs will be lifted, EMRA's market share will be reduced, and that retail players will have more freedom to establish dominant positions in the competitive market of the future. In this way, end users will hopefully receive cheaper and more reliable electricity as well. Ankara, 15 June, 2014
Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public and, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as a 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 the Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.
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