TBY talks to Tony Hayward, CEO of Genel Energy, on Turkey's significance to the company, Northern Iraq's potential, and his long-term objectives.

Tony Hayward
Tony Hayward studied geology at Aston University in Birmingham, and completed his PhD at Edinburgh University. He was Group Chief Executive of BP from 2007 until 2010, having joined the company as a rig geologist in 1982. In 2011 he founded Vallares, and became CEO of Genel Energy following the merger of Vallares and Genel Energy International.

What is Turkey's significance to Genel Energy?

While Genel Energy in its current form is a relatively new company, we have a rich heritage as a Turkish company dating back to the creation of Genel Enerji in 2002.

Building an operating base in Ankara over the last decade, Genel Energy has evolved to become an ambassador for Turkish business. Genel was the first Turkish business to list on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, and today, we consider ourselves an Anglo-Turkish exploration and production company.

Our Turkish heritage and support places us in a compelling position, and we believe that it will help us to access new opportunities in strategically selected regions, particularly given Turkey's increasing influence in the Middle East and North Africa region.

What are the benefits of being an Anglo-Turkish company?

Our Turkish heritage and support places us in a compelling position, and we believe that it will help us to access new opportunities in strategically selected regions.

Our operating headquarters are in Ankara, and, in addition to the people on the ground, a significant number of our management team and employees are Turkish, including our President, Mehmet Sepil.

To what extent does the close commercial and cultural integration of Northern Iraq with the Turkish economy benefit Genel Energy's operations?

Turkey is a growing influence in the region both politically and economically, and Turkey and the Kurdistan region of Iraq are developing close economic ties. In 2011, of the approximate $8 billion invested in Iraq, $6 billion of this was invested in the Kurdistan region. The Kurdistan region of Iraq has the potential to play a significant role in expanding Turkey's energy supply base, the majority of which is currently sourced from Iran, Iraq, Russia, and Azerbaijan. It is in the interests of Turkey, the Kurdistan region, and Iraq to develop the oil and gas supply route into Turkey. This evolving geopolitical situation will likely benefit Genel Energy, as Turkey's leading independent energy company.

What potential is there for Turkey to emerge as an oil and gas transportation hub?

Turkey occupies a strategic location at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. With its strong economy, stable political structure, and growing role in the region, Turkey is well positioned to serve as an oil and gas transportation hub in the years to come.

To what extent will Genel Energy contribute to the development of the Kurdistan region's oil and gas industry?

We have deep roots in the Kurdistan region. Our Turkish management made Genel Energy the first company to execute a production sharing contract (PSC) with the Interim Joint Regional Administration of Northern Iraq in 2002, when we acquired our interest in the Taq Taq field, and we have been working in the region ever since. Over the last decade, Genel Energy has been a core contributor to the development of the Kurdistan region's energy industry, which did not exist prior to our involvement.

What are your long-term objectives for Genel Energy in Turkey?

Genel Energy has a very strong Turkish identity. Not only is this reflected in our heritage, but also our long-term commitment to the region. We believe that Turkey's growing influence in the region, both politically and economically, will benefit Genel as the country's leading independent energy company, and we are committed to continue building our capability in Ankara in the years to come.