China's Energy Conquest Continues With Potential Coal Project In Turkey

 @SophieXSong
on May 07 2014 12:24 PM
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A Kurdish worker crushes coal into fine soot at a roadside coal shop in the southeastern Turkish province of Sirnak. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov

Though China's economy may be slowing down, the country's drive for resources keeps accelerating with a new push to make a heavy investment in a Turkish coalfield. 

The potential $10 to $12 billion deal involves the Afsin-Elbistan region, which holds up to 45 percent of Turkey’s so-called brown coal reserves, also known as lignite, in southern Turkey, the South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday.

"This is a big project," Taner Yildiz, Turkey's energy minister, said. "We have to set up the Afsin-Elbistan field project correctly. We have a big store of information. We are working with China on this."

The project also includes the construction of an 8,000-megawatt coal-fired power plant.

A deal with Abu Dhabi National Energy on the same project was signed in January 2013, but Turkey has begun talks with other companies due to investment delays.

Turkey is interested in exploiting its coal resources to cut natural gas imports, especially as demand grows for more power with the country’s expanding economy.

Yildiz said it’s not possible to say when any deal with China will be concluded, according to the South China Morning Post.

China has gone to the North Pole and back lately in its search for energy. On a recent trip to Central Asia, President Xi Jinping committed to several multibillion-dollar oil and gas projects in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

Most recently, Chinese buyers have expressed interested in buying a Norwegian fjord, which would give China access to as much as 20 million tons of coal reserve, in addition to serving as a launching pad for future Arctic explorations.

The world’s second-largest economy has also agreed to invest $27 billion in a liquid natural gas project with Novatek, Russia’s second-largest natural gas producer.

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