Sabah – The race for the development of two large coal fields in Turkey’s Kahramanmaras and Konya provinces is nearing the finish line, according to sources familiar with the matter at the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.
Results are expected within the next few months for the multibillion dollar investment project that includes the development of coal mines and building several coal-fired power plants at the Afsin-Elbistan site, located in the Southeastern Anatolian province of Kahramanmaras. Turkey is in advanced talks with the Gulf country Qatar for the project, following a December 2013 agreement between Turkey’s Electricity Generation Company (EUAS) and Qatar Holding, a subsidiary of Qatar Investment Authority, to conduct feasibility studies on the site.
The development of the Afsin-Elbistan site was subject to an intergovernmental agreement between Turkey and Abu Dhabi signed in early 2013, but TAQA, the Emirati company signatory to the deal reportedly opted out of the USD 12 billion project. The site is estimated to hold 4 billion tons of lignite, nearly half of Turkey’s total reserves. The project involves adding at least 7,000 megawatts (MW) of power to Turkey’s total installed capacity by building new thermal power plants in the region.
The Saudi company ACWA and Thailand-based Singh Group are vying to develop another coal deposit located in Turkey’s Central Anatolian province of Konya, the second largest after Afsin-Elbistan with an estimated reserve of 1.8 billion tons, according to Ministry sources. The cost of developing and generating power from the Karapinar coal fields necessitates an investment of USD 7-8 billion. The site could power coal-fired plants with an output of up to 5,000 MW.
The development of the two sites could provide up to 13,000 MW of power production capacity using locally-mined coal, in line with the governmental policy of reducing costly energy imports by turning to domestic sources, both renewable and fossil.
Turkey plans 120,000 MW of installed capacity in 2023, double that of today’s 60,000 MW.