TURKEY: Electricity privatisation drive renewed

09 December 1994

Plans to privatise the electricity sector have received a renewed impetus from the passage of the privatisation law in parliament (see Cover Story). The government now hopes for a positive ruling in the constitutional court on the denationalisation of much of the former Turkish Electricity Board (TEK).

A court injunction in the summer halted preparation work which had already divided the enterprise prior to a sale into the Turkish Electricity Generation and Transmission Corporation and the Turkish Electricity Distribution Corporation.

The government plans to sell off much of the state's generation and distribution facilities, but retain the transmission side of TEK. The privatisation administration (OIB) is expected to invite bids in 1995 for the sale of 10 thermal power stations for a total of around $5,000 million. Seven distribution companies will be sold later.

Two of the 10 power stations are gas-fired plants, a 700-MW facility at Ambarli and one at Hamitabat in Thrace. The other eight are fuelled by lignite (brown coal). They are: Seyitomer (150 MW), Soma (990 MW), Orhaneli (210 MW), Yatagan (210 MW), Yenikoy (1,420 MW), Catalagzi (150 MW), Kemerkoy (630 MW), and Kangal (300 MW). Several have been included in a series of contracts awarded since 1993 for their expansion together with the installation of flue gas desulphurisation units.

The government is also pressing ahead with build-operate-transfer projects for new power stations. The foundation stone of a 480-MW, combined-cycle, gas-fired plant at Eregli on the Sea of Marmara was scheduled to be laid by Prime Minister Tansu Ciller on 3 December. The $520 million project has two US sponsors, the Enron Corporation and Wing International. Other shareholders include the UK's Midlands Generation and the local Gama.

Confirmation of a US government commitment to provide $285 million in financing and political risk insurance was given by the US' Overseas Private Investment Corporation in mid-October (MEED 28:10:94).

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