Turkey has taken a step towards a major privatisation of its power generation sector, hiring banks to advise on the sale of plants with some 16GW of capacity, industry sources have revealed.

The government, working with consultants McKinsey & Co, has selected Citigroup and Oyak Securities to sell the portfolio, comprising dozens of assets, according to a report by Balkans.com.

The programme is likely to part of a rolling series of asset sales that could begin this year.

The portfolio is split into 7.5GW of power stations burning lignite, or brown coal; 4GW of hydroelectric power; 3GW of gas-fired plants; 0.7GW of oil and 0.3GW of coal, according to the sources speaking to the news site.

Turkey’s energy sector has attracted considerable foreign interest in recent years, with players such as Verbund and CEZ entering power production.

The global downturn has inevitably slowed investment.

Turkey needs as much as $10bn worth of energy investments each year to stave off electricity shortages as early as 2010, according to analyst predictions.