Azerbaijan expanding economic presence in Turkey (Interview)

Azerbaijan expanding economic presence in Turkey (Interview)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 1

By Sara Israfilbayova – Trend:

Investments of the Azerbaijan State Oil Company SOCAR in Turkey will reach $19.5 billion in the future, Director General of SOCAR Turkey Zaur Gahramanov said in an interview with Trend.

The director general noted that from 2008 to date, the volume of SOCAR's investments in Turkey amounted to $14.2 billion.

SOCAR's investments in Turkey will expand economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey and significantly reduce Turkey’s dependence on imports of petrochemical products, he said.

He also noted that SOCAR will play a crucial role in making Turkey an important player in the global energy market.

The general director noted that Azerbaijan, being a country whose geographic and geopolitical power is growing every day, is aimed at further strengthening its power in the international arena with the help of Turkey.

Results of 2018: launch of new projects

While speaking about 2018 as a whole, Gahramanov stressed that it was successful for SOCAR Turkey.

“In particular, the company launched two giant projects and began to work on new investment plans,” he said.

“The opening ceremony of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), which is a very important strategic investment project of Azerbaijan and Turkey, was held in 2018,” he said. “TANAP was linked to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) on the border with Greece in 2018. Thus, 16 billion cubic meters of gas will be supplied to Turkey and Europe annually through these pipelines.”

“Six billion cubic meters of gas of this volume will be transported via TANAP to Turkey, while 10 billion cubic meters of gas - to Europe via TAP,” he said.

“TANAP will help meet about 12 percent of Turkey’s gas needs,” he said. “In the future, the volume of gas pumping through TANAP may reach 24 billion cubic meters, and later, 31 billion cubic meters of gas.”

“One of the most important achievements of 2018 was that the Aliaga peninsula, where the STAR refinery and Petkim petrochemical complex are located, obtained the status of the Special Industrial Zone. Thus, we will continue to contribute to the development of the economies of both Azerbaijan and Turkey,” he said.

Azerbaijan will help Turkey to reduce import of petrochemical products

The new petrochemical complex, a joint project of SOCAR and BP, is designed to serve the production of polyester packaging and the textile industry, which are developing in Turkey, Gahramanov said.

Gahramanov noted that Turkey has the integrated petrochemicals complex Petkim, which can cover only 20 percent of Turkey’s demand for petrochemicals.

"Therefore, Turkey needs to invest more in this sector. And taking into account this fact, we decided to create a new petrochemical complex," he said.

The director general noted that the start of construction of the new petrochemical complex of SOCAR in Turkey is scheduled for 2H2019, and added that if there is no change, it will be commissioned in late 2022.

The investment value of the joint project will be approximately $1.5-$2 billion, he said.

"Thus, SOCAR’s share in the petrochemical market of Turkey will increase, and Turkey’s need to import petrochemicals will decrease. All our projects in Turkey are aimed at this," Gahramanov said.

Petkim - indispensable manufacturer of petrochemical products in Turkey

Petkim produces 60 types of petrochemical products and from this point of view is indispensable for Turkey, Gahramanov said.

“Petkim, which is Turkey's first and the only integrated petrochemical enterprise, includes 15 plants and six additional enterprises,” he said. “Petkim's production capacity is 3.6 million tons per year.”

“The materials for many industries, including medicines, paints, detergents and cosmetics, are produced here,” Gahramanov said.

He added that approximately 60 percent of Petkim’s products are sold domestically, while Petkim covers 20 percent of Turkey’s petrochemicals needs.

He stressed that when STAR refinery reaches its full capacity, there will be a very big potential in this sphere.

“STAR refinery will supply Petkim petrochemical complex with naphtha, which will increase the added value of Petkim products,” Gahramanov said.

STAR refinery will soon reach full capacity

The STAR refinery will soon reach full production capacity, Gahramanov said, reminding that the opening of the refinery took place on Oct. 19, 2018.

"The refinery, in which $6.3 billion were invested, will supply its products domestically, and when it goes to full capacity, it will be able to meet needs of the Petkim petrochemical complex for raw materials," he said.

Its total refining capacity will reach 10 million tons, and thus will significantly reduce Turkey’s dependence on imports of petrochemical products, Gahramanov added.

SOCAR increases production of alternative energy in Turkey

SOCAR Turkey plans to increase energy production at the Petkim wind power plant to 200 gigawatt-hour, Gahramanov said.

He noted that this will be possible after the launch of 17 wind turbines.

The power plant, Gahramanov added, has now managed to bring the production to 25 megawatts. The maximum capacity of the power plant is 51 megawatts.

The oil refining and petrochemical industries are distinguished by the most intensive energy consumption among other industries, according to the head of the company.

"Our investments in alternative energy are important for the use of alternative energy sources in industry," he stressed.

The volume of investments in Petkim wind power plant is $55 million. The power plant was launched in 2017.

SOCAR may expand network of filling stations in Turkey

Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR may increase investments in expanding the network of filling stations in Turkey in the future, Gahramanov said.

“SOCAR has filling stations in many countries, but in Turkey our first filling station will be built in the new airport of Istanbul,” he noted. “Starting from this year, nine filling stations of SOCAR will operate in the airport.”

Five of the nine filling stations will be located on the platform, one in the cargo transportation territory, two in the parking lot and one filling station will provide services for taxis, he said.

He added that the presence of filling stations at the Istanbul airport - the biggest airport in the world, is a strategic and important step for SOCAR in promoting its brand.

“We are a company that always evaluates and considers possibilities of carrying out activities in the fuel sector, and we are closely monitoring the developments in the market,” he said.


Follow the author on Twitter: @IsrafilbekovaS

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