ERZURUM – Turkish Energy Minister Zeki Cakan said yesterday that the government expected 8 percent growth in energy demand in 2002, which could be met only if it promotes competition in the power industry. «The energy market regulation board has begun work to bring competition to the electricity sector. Last year growth was negative due to economic contraction. But this year the target is 8 percent, tied to fulfilling the competition terms,» Cakan told reporters in the eastern city of Erzurum. «However, without establishing the necessary conditions for competition (satisfying the 8 percent increase) cannot be achieved.» Cakan said Turkey will find it hard to meet energy demand in the next five years despite a planned addition of 13,663 megawatts (MW) to the current established power capacity of 28,284 MW by the end of 2006. «According to the estimated 8 percent rise in demand we must start working to resolve the situation that we will face in 2006,» he said. Cakan said Turkey now plans just 18 Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) power plant projects after companies in 11 of 29 projects dropped out after rejecting limits to treasury guarantees. The treasury said in October it would provide 10-year full guarantees for BOT projects with a 20-year operational life. «These 18 firms have been invited. The treasury continues contract negotiations with them with fresh terms under which they will benefit from 10-year treasury guarantees in 12 year energy sales contracts if they can finish the projects in 2002,» Cakan said. Today Cakan and Economy Minister Kemal Dervis will brief the Constitutional Court on BOT projects and transfer of operational rights in eight thermal power plant projects. Opposition parties have applied to the court demanding cancellation of two articles of the electricity law which aims to liberalize the state-controlled industry. Cakan said the government planned to transfer nine operating licenses of the State Coal Enterprises (TKI) to the private sector to help reduce coal production costs, which exceed global averages. Reducing theft The minister said thousands of people illegally tap power from the national grid at a cost to the country of some $1.5 billion a year. The ministry targeted to reduce the ratio of power transmission losses from theft by 3-4 percentage points in 2002. Cakan said 21.6 percent of transmitted power was lost, of which seven percentage points was due to transmission losses. – On smaller sizes, IMT has fixed M/V «Arete» 40,213 dwt, built 1989, delivery Japan Jan. 17-22, redelivery Far East, at USD 7,200 daily.