Monday, December 06, 2010
The Antalya Chamber of Mechanical Engineers held a panel on Friday regarding Turkey’s energy resources, current problems in the sector and possible ways of addressing Turkey’s possible future energy problems. Panelists commonly agreed that while the need for new energy resources is constantly rising all over the world, Turkey is failing to use its rich potential as a result of inaccurate policies regarding energy production
The need for more energy stems from a parallel and uncontrollable increase in the world’s population while shrinking energy resources give rise to serious price hikes, a leading Turkish energy specialist said Friday.
Approximately 35 percent of the world’s energy production is based on petroleum, while coal ranked second at almost 30 percent, Necdet Pamir, an academic at Bilkent and Kültür Universities and board member of the World Energy Council’s Turkish National Committee, said during a panel discussion at the conference “The Hard facts of Turkey’s Energy Market and Recommended Solutions” held by the Antalya Chamber of Mechanical Engineers.
Petroleum will be of paramount importance in terms of energy production, according to predictions pertaining to energy production in 2035, Pamir said.
Noting that almost 60 percent of world petroleum reserves are located in the Middle East, Pamir said although Turkey has important portions of reserves its biggest drawback is the high cost of searching for petroleum.
“This is an important drive behind super powers’ setting their eyes on Middle Eastern countries with lower energy production costs,” he said.
United States policies in the Middle East are based on an ambition to control the world’s energy resources, Pamir said, adding that the U.S. is dependent on other countries in energy production by up to 60 percent, a source of distress for the future of current reserves.
Although Turkey has not been fully searched for energy resources, the nation still imports a significant amount of the resources required to fuel production and dependency on imports is thus constantly rising.
Oğuz Türkyılmaz, head of the Energy Working Group of Antalya’s Chamber of Mechanical Engineers, agreed with Pamir. Only 20 percent of Turkish land and a mere 1 percent of its territorial seas have been searched for new petroleum or gas resources, he said.
Although discussions regarding the remaining extent of global fossil fuel resources continue, a common prediction suggests there will be enough coal for another 122 years of energy production, enough gas for 60 years and enough petroleum for 42 years, Türkyılmaz said.
“We should not forget that one day all these resources will be depleted,” he said.
Turkey is in dire need of new resources comparative to its size and increasing population, Türkyılmaz said, adding that this need increased 5-fold over the last 40 years while energy production showed a reverse trend – especially during financial crises, the latest example being the last quarter of 2008.
“Private sector owns 54 percent of electricity production”
A serious proportion of electricity production has been privatized in Turkey, leading to increased prices, Türkyılmaz said. “The drive behind electricity production by the private sector is increasing profit margins more and more, whether we like it or not.”
Haluk Direskeneli, also of the Energy Working Group, said the Turkish energy market is currently facing other problems.
Turkey urgently needs well-planned and sound energy policies instead of criticizing alternative energy production, like thermal power, Direskeneli said, adding that the biggest concern should be setting criteria determining the appropriate development of such alternatives.
Current problems facing the development of alternative energy production include the misuse of government incentives in the private sector, the demolition of agricultural land, inadequate supervision of environmental impact alternatives may cause and the failure to create jobs despite investment in the sector, Direskeneli said.
The panel also represented the interests of the private sector, with the inclusion of Gültekin Çınar from OlimposGaz and Ahmet Şahbaz from Aksa Energy.
While Şahbaz discussed the important role the private sector plays in energy production, paying particular attention to the work his company is currently doing in the sector, Çınar detailed the complexity of Turkey’s energy problem.
Ensuring “supply security” should be the priority of attracting new investments to the energy sector, Çınar said, adding that the strategy should include setting different policies for different energy resources.
The market for new energy resources would keep expanding both in Turkey and throughout the world, Çınar said.