Turkish and Italian ministers as well as CEO's will attend ceremony for the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline on April 24. 'They must first guarantee the oil, it is very risky,' says energy expert.
Stranded by the inauguration of a pipeline to carry Russian oil from Bulgaria's Bourgas to Greece's Alexandropoulos' port, Turkey is now trying to respond to Russia's move by laying the foundation of its own bypass project, namely Samsun-Ceyhan, but with a single difference: without guaranteeing any oil will flow through the pipeline. Turkey's Energy Minister, Hilmi G?ler, announced that construction of the 700 kilometer Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline will start on April 24.
Turkey and Russia were long competing for a pipeline that would bypass Turkey's Istanbul and ?anakkale straits in a move to reduce heavy oil tanker traffic. Russia preferred Bourgas-Alexandropoulos pipeline whose 51 percent of shares were held by 3 Russian companies while Turkey campaigned for its Samsun-Ceyhan project, which is estimated to cost two times more than its rival.
Turkey's ?al?k and Italia's ENI groups established a consortium in which Indian Oil and Shell companies became partners with small shares.
?Turkey is a fabulous bridge and a corridor between producers and consumers. We will lay the foundation of Samsun-Ceyhan on April 24. This will make Ceyhan Turkey's energy center,? said G?ler in Trabzon on Saturday. Italian Minister for Economic Development Pierluigi Bersani will also come to Turkey to attend to the ceremony of the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
However, there's a something missing with the pipeline. The Samsun-Ceyhan consortium could not make any through-put agreement with any of the oil producing countries or companies in the region.
?To build a pipeline through-put agreement is a must,? Necdet Pamir, told the TDN, a leading energy analyst and general coordinator of the Center for Eurasian Strategic Research (ASAM) in Ankara. He said Kazakhstan and Russia bring their oil to Novorosisk, a Russian port on the Black Sea, but they are not likely to give their oil to Samsun-Ceyhan.
Moscow closed Samsun-Ceyhan file:
?Kazakhstan has not even given its oil to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) and for its oil sent to Novorosisk they will need to have Russian consent to use Samsun-Ceyhan,? Pamir noted.
Meanwhile, the Russian attitude has not changed toward Samsun-Ceyhan. ?In Moscow, nobody wants to hear about Samsun-Ceyhan,? said a Russian diplomat to the TDN. ?If BTC would not exist then we could say yes to Samsun-Ceyhan.?
Asked why Turkey decided to lay the foundation of Samsun-Ceyhan, Pamir replied, ?I think they want to start the construction and create a de facto situation. But it is very risky.?
Turkey is trying to be an east-west, north-south energy corridor and is promoting its Ceyhan terminal as a future energy stock market.
SERKAN DEM?RTA?/ANKARA ? Turkish Daily News