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All eyes on Turkey ahead of WPC

The country’s importance as an energy hub will continue to increase. Istanbul was a natural choice to hold the upcoming World Petroleum Congress

Next July the world's energy leaders will once again meet in Istanbul for the 22nd World Petroleum Congress (WPC).

Turkey's strategic importance in global energy trade renders it an ideal host country for the Congress, the chief executive of Turkish Petroleum says.

"Of course it's so important that these two energy congresses are held here. Istanbul is a big city at the very center of the world and we're at a very important transition point," Besim Sisman, chief executive of Turkish Petroleum and chair of the WPC Turkish National Committee, said in an interview following a press briefing on Wednesday morning.

"Next year we will be here for the WPC and at that time we will have some good cooperation for some big projects."

Turkey's energy consumption, particularly for natural gas, has steadily increased over the past decade while domestic production has struggled to ramp up.

Last year the country consumed around 43.6bn cubic metres (cm) of natural gas, according to BP's Statistical Review. That's up from 26.9bn cm in 2006.

Turkey's domestic gas production was just 0.5bn cm in 2013, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). This has rendered Turkey overwhelmingly dependent on energy imports.

The country has long held a strategically important role as a transit corridor for oil. The Turkish Straits are one of the oil world's busiest transit routes, transporting almost 3m barrels per day of crude, according to data released by the EIA.

Its role as a transit hub for gas will continue to increase with its involvement in the Shah Deniz project, and the Southern Gas Corridor.

Both projects are key parts of the European Union's efforts to diversify its gas supply options away from Russia.

"So many people are interested in getting their energy, particularly gas, from various parts of the world through Turkey," Pierce Riemer, Director General of WPC, said at WEC.

"As more people use gas, Turkey will become increasingly important."

Registration is now open for WPC, which will take place in Istanbul from 9-13 July 2017.

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