Turkey must make the place safe for itself in both the northern and southern oil and gas fields of Iraq since its energy future is inextricably connected with its southern neighbor, in spite of the frequent recent friction, sector representatives have said.
Mehmet Öğütçü, who is the head of Global Resources Corporation, said that if there is energy somewhere, then it has to flow somewhere else. It is not possible escaping from that fate. He implied that fuel drilled in Iraq would be transported outside the country in spite of the economic or the political obstructions.
Speakers at yesterday’s ‘Natural Gas as the Game Changer’ roundtable conference organized by the Marmara Group Foundation forecasted that Iraq would have an important place in the natural gas bus sector in the coming years.
Tahir Uysal, who is a partner at Silso Oil, said that Iraq will produce around 19 billion cubic meters of natural gas by the year 2035, which means it will possibly become the fifth or sixth largest producer in the world.
Turkey must not only-conduct energy investments in the northern part of the country, but must also pursue ties in the southern Iraq as well, he told to the Iraqi media on the sidelines of the conference.
He also said that Turkey must consider using gas of northern Iraq rather than shipping it to Europe in the long term. Uysal also had suggestions, that Turkey must follow a balanced energy strategy between Baghdad and the northern Iraq.
However, it has really been tough for the Turkish companies for working in the northern and the southern parts of Iraq at the same time. In this respect, Pars Kutay, who is the head of the government and public affairs at the Ankara-based Genel Energy, expressed that Genel wishes for entering the southern Iraqi market but were put on a Baghdad blacklist because the company is already operating in northern Iraq.
Near about 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas may come from the northern Iraq in the coming 10 to 20 years. The gas reserves of Iraq are estimated to be 3.5 million cubic meters. Some 85 % of these reserves are thought to be situated in northern Iraq, said Kutay.
Kutay stated that there are several companies in northern Iraq, but they will see buying there, and global companies will be entering there. If Turkey does not develop a timely policy, then possibly in 5 to 10 years they will discuss about how to ship the oil and gas that retrieved by mainly American companies from northern Iraq, he added.
The central government of Iraq, which has blamed the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the north of ‘oil smuggling’ due to its direct deal with the international companies, lately said it would sue Genel over its oil sales to Turkey.
A southern Iraq research license for Turkey’s Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAŞ) was also lately canceled with no discernable reason.
Kutay said that Turkey, which has an energy policy dependent on imports, cannot resist such an import potential
A Foreign Ministry official, however, underlined that it is necessary that Baghdad and Arbil finally agreeing on long-awaited laws on hydrocarbons and revenue-sharing.
Ayşe Berris Ekinci, who is the deputy head of the Energy, Water and Environment Affairs Department at the Foreign Ministry, said both laws must be settled, or else it would be impossible for the country to produce 12 million barrels of oil a day.
The future, and also the contributions of BOTAŞ and the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), was also talked about at the conference.
Öğütçü told to the Iraqi media that Turkey must have integrated giant company which works like a private company in the energy sector so that it can work dynamically in international markets.
Source: [Hurriyet Daily News]