By Orhan Coskun
REUTERS - Mon May 5, 2014
Turkey and China are in talks on a $10-12 billion investment deal for the Afsin-Elbistan coalfield and power plant project in southern Turkey, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told Reuters. Turkey is keen to make the most of its coal resources to reduce its imports of natural gas and signed a deal with Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) TAQA.AD on the project in January 2013. However, TAQA said in August it was delaying investment and Turkey subsequently began talks with other companies. "There will be an investment of $10-12 billion in the Afsin-Elbistan field. This will include use of the coalfields. We are in talks with China for a deal on this subject," Yildiz said late on Sunday. It was not possible to say when any deal with China might be signed, he said. The Afsin-Elbistan region holds up to 45 percent of Turkey's lignite reserves and the project includes the construction of a 8,000 megawatt (MW) coal-fired plant. "This is a big project. 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," he added.