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Turkey's preparations for WEC 2016 underway

The country was named as the host of the congress last November

Istanbul's preparations to host the 2016 World Energy Congress are already under way, Turkish representatives of the World Energy Council (WEC) said yesterday.

The WEC General Assembly named Istanbul as the host city for the congress when it met in Monaco last November.

Süreyya Yücel Özden, the chairman of the WEC’s Turkish National Committee, said Turkey was very happy to have won.“The Bosphorus is a precious jewel which will form the backdrop for a wide range of social activities as well as technical events.Whoever comes to Istanbul in 2016 will have the feeling of spending a week in a different world,” he said.

Özden said that hosting the congress had significant political and economic relevance for Turkey. “Hosting the World Energy Congress is very important for Turkey. We want to reinforce our position in the world as the leading democracy in the Middle East and a wonderful tourist destination,” he said. “But we also want to be an important stage for the discussion of energy issues.”

Turkey is a producer and importer of oil and gas, but recent discoveries raised the possibility of self-sufficiency. It also plans to build nuclear reactors powered by locally available uranium.

But Turkey also hopes to become a major hub hosting pipelines from the Caucasus and the Gulf region to Europe, including the Trans Anatolian Pipeline, which will carry gas from the Shah Deniz II development, in the Caspian, to Europe.

Özden said: “We have an important geopolitical position with 70% of the world’s oil and gas located in countries on our borders and most of the consumers to the west. We are a strategic bridge between producers and consumers.”

Turkey’s own energy needs are changing. Demand for oil and gas is rising by 5% per year and electricity by 7% per year. Turkey hopes that a large part of its new energy supply will come from renewables. “We are currently only using one third of our hydroelectric potential. We have capacity for wind power and great potential for solar power.”

But these ambitions require investment. Hosting the congress is part of a strategy to demonstrate Turkey’s potential to investors. “To do all this, we need about €200 billion ($270.6bn) of investment. Our energy sector is open to private investors and we are offering incentives to invest in our domestic energy resources.”

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