“WE NEED TO PURSUE OPPORTUNITIES CREATED BY THE GREEN ECONOMY USING R&D AND INNOVATION,” SAID GLOBAL RESOURCES PARTNERSHIP CEO MEHMET OGUTCU, POINTING OUT TURKEY’S FOREIGN DEPENDENCE ON FOSSIL FUELS.
BY BESTENIGAR KARA
Turkey’s 96% foreign-dependence in natural gas and 93% in petroleum creates unique opportunities for a green energy economy, says Mehmet Ogutcu, Chairman of the Board of Global Resources Partnership. “We need to build a system which triggers dynamism in the private sector and a strategic framework from the government that focuses on a ‘Green Deal’ which can be articulated to the global community. We need to be ready, flexible and dynamic in the face of the developments in the upcoming years,” Ogutcu told participants of the ‘New Balances in Energy’ panel at the 9th Uludag Economy Summit.
Emphasizing the importance of being a manufacturer in the green economy through R&D and innovation, Ogutcu said that Turkey should be on the front line in developing technologies such as nuclear, natural gas, coal, petroleum as well as hydrogen and fuel cells. “The country has the potential to be a voice in the world’s energy management with its technology, geopolitical importance and access to different markets,” he added.
TRANSITION TO GREEN ENERGY ACCELERATING
The share of fossil fuels, including oil, natural gas and coal in the global energy economy and investments is gradually decreasing. However, it will stand at around 50-70% in line with the 2050 projections, •gutcu said. “The role of renewables in the global energy mix is estimated at 6-7% by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA),” he added, stressing that the change in the energy industry has actually started with discussions of decarbonization, digitalization and decentralization. “However, the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy and the green economy is happening faster than expected. Investments in the energy industry totaled USD 1.7tr in 2019 and USD 1.5tr in 2020. USD 7 out of every USD 10 spent are now being spent on renewables, energy efficiency and hydrogen,” he added.
‘NO GREEN DEAL, NO FOREIGN TRADE’
Penetration into global markets will become difficult, especially with the adverse impact of sanctions, unless issues such as carbon emissions, carbon footprint and te green energy aren’t considered within the scope of the climate change in manufacturing, technology, trade, investment and finance, •gutcu noted. “Governments, companies, business and finance models should keep pace with this change to survive. •n the other hand, there is supply abundance in fossil fuels and renewable capacity.
However, 1.6 billion people can’t access commercial energy sources,” he said, noting that Turkey signed the Paris Climate Agreement but hasn’t ratified it.
The supply wealth, stemming from factors including shale gas technology developed in the U.S., cheaper liquified natural gas (LNG) prices and smart energy networks, has escalated geopolitical tensions, said Ogutcu. Moreover, energy geopolitics will concentrate on lithium, cobalt and nickel in the upcoming period. Ogutcu also highlighted that small and medium-sized reactors have come to the fore rather than giant reactors.
The Uludag Economy Summit, organized jointly by Capital, Ekonomist and StartUp magazines since 2012, was held both online and in person from March 24-25 under the theme, Are We Ready for the New World? Influential actors in the energy industry shared their projections regarding their companies and the sector, convening on the ‘New Balances in Energy’ panel, sponsored by Dogan Holding’s subsidiary Galata Wind Enerji AS.
STAR REFINERY TO REFINE 11 MILLION TONNES OF CRUDE OIL
The first speaker of the session, the Chairman of SOCAR Turkey Refinery and Petrochemical Business Unit, Anar Mammadov, stated that they changed their sales policies by reducing exports in order to meet the domestic market’s need in 2020, when the pandemic started. Moreover, the company met Turkey’s diesel fuel need by converting jet fuel, taking advantage of Petkim and Star Refineries’ integrated structure and developed technology. The company exceeded capacity and raised annual production to 10.5 million tonnes in 2020 and aims to refine 11 million tonnes of crude oil this year.
There is a big potential, especially in the country’s petrochemical industry, according to Mammadov. “Turkey is the most useful and the most favorable market for us. Our market share reached 18%,” he said. “The demand on thermoplastics manufacturing rose by 17% in 2020.” Global growth in the petrochemical industry ranged between 3% to 3.5% before the pandemic. For Turkey, it stood between 4-5%, he added.
‘WE WANT TO HAVE A VOICE IN RENEWABLES BY 2030’: KUYAN
Price fluctuations in the energy industry have negatively affected energy trade and the demand declined precipitously in the electricity sector during the pandemic, according to Burak Kuyan, President of the Energy Traders Association and CEO of Dogan Enerji. However, the company has quickly recovered with increases in electricity prices in June. Moreover, Dogan Holding subsidiary and sponsor of the session, Galata Wind Enerji AS, hasn’t been affected by price fluctuations with the support of its wind and solar energy power plants. “We focus on sustainability and the future. We’ve seen that renewable energy is an important factor for the existence of our future and we want to have a voice in the world in this field in 2030,” Kuyan said, stressing that sustainability has become the point of profit-loss management. Kuyan also noted that Galata Wind has an installed power of 270 MW. The company’s net corporate debt will be zeroed in 2022, while the company plans for an initial public offering (IPO) this year.
DOGANLAR TO ESTABLISH FIVE BIOGAS PLANTS IN 2021
Doganlar Holding has focused on the biomass-biogas leg of the energy industry for 5 years, according to Davut Dogan, Chairman of the Board of Doganlar Holding. The company currently has 12 biogas plants, which will be raised to 17 in 2021. Turkey has a daily potential of 80,000 tonnes of waste and produces one kilogram of waste per capita, Dogan said. “45,000 tonnes of this waste is processed, 9,000 tonnes of which we process. We do not only generate electricity but also make income from disposing of this waste. We sell raw materials such as glass, plastics and metal to firms by decomposing them in waste,” he added. The company preparing for an IPO in April or May this year.
‘COMMON MIND SHOULD BE DEVELOPED IN ENERGY’: YILDIRIM
Hakan Yildirim, the CEO of Sanko Enerji, stated that more unified thinking should be developed in order to place Turkey in the most advantageous position for the emerging new balances in the energy industry. Although 2020 was a challenging year for the company, they launched four projects with an installed power of 200 MW and have expanded their reach into hydroelectricity and geothermal energy. “We want to become the largest company in Turkey with a 100% of renewable portfolio, happy employees with the highest number of women employees and executives, and a digital transformation that provides value-added,” he said.
ZORLU SELLS EV CHARGING STATIONS TO ISRAEL AND PAKISTAN
Zorlu Enerji invested TRY 700m in the electricity distribution sector in 2020, despite the uncertainties created by the pandemic, according to Sinan Ak, CEO of Zorlu Enerji. The company mostly stands out in geothermal energy, and aims to grow in this field. The company also prioritizes electrification and digitalization. The company has established the largest electric vehicle (EV) charging station network in Turkey, with 1,000 stations.
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