* Qatar, Japan companies agree to study projects -statement
* Eyes projects including lignite power plants
* No agreement yet with Turkish govt
* Afsin Elbistan region holds brown coal reserves (Adds detail, context)
DUBAI, Feb 22 (Reuters) - A group of Qatari state-linked investors and three Japanese power firms have signed an agreement to study the possibility of developing projects in Turkey’s Afsin Elbistan region, one of the Qatari firms said in a statement on Sunday.
The Afsin-Elbistan region holds up to 45 percent of Turkey’s reserves of lignite, or brown coal, and Turkish authorities have been keen to attract investment into the region to help meet growing electricity demand.
A $12 billion deal with Abu Dhabi National Energy Co to develop several power plants in the region collapsed in August 2013 after TAQA said it would delay its planned investment amid difficult financing conditions at a time of currency volatility in emerging markets including Turkey.
This decision forced Turkey into talks with other potential investors including Qatari and Chinese parties.
A consortium of Mitsubishi Corporation, Marubeni and Chubu Electric Power on the Japanese side and Qatar Holding and Nebras Power from the Gulf state signed an agreement on Friday to study projects in the region, Nebras said in a statement.
The group will evaluate projects including the development, operation and maintenance of lignite power plants, but it was yet to reach any agreement over projects with the Turkish government, the statement said.
The potential development is the latest in a string of business deals involving Qatari and Japanese entities.
Mitsubishi is set to be named preferred bidder to construct the 2,400 megawatt Facility D gas power plant in Qatar, Project Finance International, a Thomson Reuters company, said on Feb. 17.
Last week, a consortium headed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries agreed a $3.33 billion contract for a subway system in Doha, according to Japan’s Nihon Keizai (Nikkei) newspaper.
The newspaper also reported last week that Marubeni and Nebras Power had signed an agreement to build a gas power plant in Kenya.
Nebras Power is an internationally focused infrastructure investment firm 60-percent owned by Qatar Electricity and Water Company, with the remainder split between Qatar Petroleum and Qatar Holding. (Reporting by David French; editing by Jason Neely)