Turkish legislators debate oil law to attract foreign explorers

Energy Trade

Turkey, which gets almost all its energy from abroad, debated a law on Wednesday that seeks to lure foreign companies to explore for oil and gas and end the preferential treatment of state-run TPAO Turkiye Petrolleri AO (TPAO), media reported. The bill eases rules for hiring foreign workers, extends license periods and cuts the top tax on profit from 55% to 40%, according to a draft of the legislation. Turkey, the fastest-growing major economy after China, wants to step up exploration after Israel and Cyprus reported gas discoveries in Mediterranean waters in the past three years. The country’s imports of oil and gas, amounting to $60 billion in 2012, were the main cause of its $47.5 billion current-account deficit last year. Just 20% of onshore areas and 3% of offshore Turkey have been explored, and the country’s shale-gas potential is unknown, the Energy Ministry said. The new law seeks to encourage foreign explorers by allowing them to compete with TPAO on an equal footing.

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