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Turkish energy sector hit by lira depreciation: MUFG research

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Demand for transport fuel in Turkey constrained by price

Power generation mix shifting towards domestic coal

Istanbul — Turkey's energy markets have been issued a warning message from the tumble of the lira, Japan's MUFG research showed.

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Turkey's demand for transport fuel is expected to be limited by higher retail prices and domestic coal is seen taking a higher share in the power generation mix at the expenses of imported coal, according to the research.

In a briefing note, MUFG identified six ways in which the currency turbulence could affect Turkish energy markets, as the lira fell s further 7% against the dollar Friday, following threats from Washington.

Noting Turkey's key role as a strategic oil and gas transit hub, MUFG warned that, as Turkey is almost totally dependent on imported crude oil, and heavily dependent on imported gas, the cost of these two commodities will continue to rise sharply in lira terms, with the cost of crude oil already having risen by 89% in lira terms since the start of this year.

As previously, this rise may not be totally reflected in retail prices. In May, Ankara introduced a new regulation allowing it to vary the level of the special consumption tax levied on transport fuels to keep retail prices stable.

However, MUFG noted that, with tax revenues already falling, Ankara has only limited scope for reductions and that the price rises will inevitably have to be passed on to consumers constraining growth in demand for transport fuels.

Despite the growing spat with the US and Washington's re-imposition of sanctions on hydrocarbon exports, MUFG predicts that Turkish crude oil imports from Iran are likely to continue at around the same level as currently, accounting from around 40% of Turkish crude imports.

With retail power prices strictly controlled MUFG notes that the power generation is likely to be impacted to the extent that generation from domestic coal renewables, which accounts for 59% of generating capacity, is likely to rise at the expense of generation using imported gas coal and other liquid hydrocarbons (41% of capacity), the viability of which has been squeezed by the fall in the lira.

Local coal contributed 15.86% or 46.4TWh of the electricity mix in 2017, while imported coal contributed 17.49% or 51.2 TWh, according to Turkish energy regulator, EPDK.

Turkey consumed 38.4 million mt of oil equivalent and produced 15.2 million mtoe in 2016, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

MUFG acknowledged that regulatory actions by both the Turkish central bank (TCMB) and Turkey's Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) last week had succeeded in stabilizing the lira, but said measures that imposed limits on FX swap operations would make it harder for offshore investors to access lira liquidity and that further measures to rebalance monetary and fiscal policy together with a structural reform program would be required to boost investor confidence and promote a return to macroeconomic and financial stability.

Some efforts have been made this week to restore investor confidence with Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak Thursday taking a conference call in which he ruled out restrictions on capital and said he would reduce both Turkey's current account deficit and the rising inflation rate.

Promises appear to have been upstaged by subsequent threats from Washington of further economic sanctions if Turkey doesn't agree to release a US pastor on trial in Turkey on terrorism charges.

MUFG is part of Mitsubishi group, which includes Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), which has interests in the Turkish energy sector.

In 2013, Turkey and Japan signed an intergovernmental agreement for the development of a four unit, 4.56GW nuclear power plant on Turkey's Black Sea coast with a subsequent MoU signed in 2014, naming MHI as heading a consortium to develop the plant expected to also include Itochu, Engie, and Turkey's state generator EUAS.

Turkish oil market fundamentals (mil mt)

Year Product Consumption Product Imps Product Exports Crude oil production Crude Oil Imps Transit Iraq-Turkey Transit Baku- Tbilisi- Ceyhan
2013 21.1 13.5 8.3 2.4 18.6 12.5 34.1
2014 21.9 15.0 9.3 2.5 17.5 7.6 35.6
2015 24.8 14.6 10.8 2.5 25.1 26.3 35.8
2016 26.7 15.1 9.7 2.6 25.0 25.8 34.6
2017 28.5 16.9 10.1 n/a 25.8 25.2 34.5

Source: EPDK, Botas, Turkish state General Directorate of Petroleum Affairs, Turkish Petroleum (TP)

Turkish power market fundamentals (TWh)

Year Total Consumption Total generation Imports Exports Installed capacity (GW)
2013 246.4 240.2 7.4 1.2 64.0
2014 257.2 252.0 8.0 2.7 69.6
2015 264.1 259.9 7.4 3.0 73.5
2016 277.5 273.7 6.4 1.4 78.6
2017 292.0 295.6 2.7 3.3 84.8

Source: EPDK

--David O'Byrne, newsdesk@spglobal.com

--Edited by James Leech, james.leech@spglobal.com