Dr Cenk Pala is a prominent figure in both the Turkish energy security and the Southern Energy Corridor discussion in all respects, with vast industry experience in the Eurasian gas pipeline business. Having joined Turkey's BOTAS Petroleum Corporation in 1997, he was appointed Head of Strategy and Business Development at the company as of 2001. In this context he implemented pre-feasibility, feasibility, marketing, finance, legal studies and lobbying events of the several pipeline (mainly gas) projects including BTC Crude Oil P/L Project, Turkey-Greece (ITG) Natural Gas Pipeline Project, Turkey-Greece-Italy (IGI) Natural Gas Pipeline Project, Turkey-Austria (Nabucco) Natural Gas Pipeline Project, Trans Adriatic Pipeline Project, Iraq-Turkey Natural Gas Project, Arab Gas Pipeline Project — Turkish Connection and Samsun-Ceyhan Crude Oil By-pass Pipeline Project.
His other main responsibilities as Head of Strategy were to develop new business opportunities for BOTAŞ, such as prospecting new gas markets within the European Union; to establish strategic cooperation with potential foreign companies performing especially natural gas production and transportation projects in the Caspian and the Middle Eastern countries; and to arrange government-level relations with the USA & the EU. He also represented BOTAS in the "Industry Advisory Panel" body of the Energy Charter. During 2002-2003, Dr Pala also represented BOTAŞ as Member of the Board in the privatized Bursagaz Gas Distribution Company.
In March 2008 Dr Pala joined the German gas company, E.ON Ruhrgas AG and served as General Manager and Board Member of the company's Turkish affiliate, based in Ankara, between September 2008 and March 2012. He was a part of E.ON International Energy Turkey Business Development Team and TR Representative of E.ON Global Gas Unit. Further, Dr. Pala was appointed as Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) Turkey Representative by shareholders as of January 2011. Following the merger of E.ON with the Turkish conglomerate SABANCI, Dr Pala joined the JV entity, Enerjisa, as "Regulatory Affairs and Business Development Manager". This was on 1 June, 2013.
Dr Pala holds a BA Degree in Economics from Gazi University, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from Hacettepe University. He is a prolific speaker at international conferences on the energy sector and has published numerous works on energy economics, regional and global pipeline politics, the global oil and gas sector, etc. He is married and has two children.