The viability of Baku-Ceyhan lies in Turkish hands

Nov 20, 1998 01:00 AM

Turkey must come up with whatever financing is necessary to pay for a pipeline that it wants to run through its borders for shipping Caspian oil, a top official with Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR said.
"It's now up to Turkey to decide and determine whether the pipeline will be a reality, or whether we should forget about it," SOCAR first vice president Ilham Aliyev told.
Turkey is promoting a 1,080-mile pipeline that would stretch from the Azerbaijan capital of Baku to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean. Turkey has already said it would limit oil shipments through the Bosporus to make the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline the only viable export route.
Aliyev, who is also the son of Azerbaijan's president, said that to make international oil companies favour the Baku-Ceyhan route, instead of alternative cheaper routes that skip Turkey, the Turkish government must be prepared to provide any financing for the pipeline that the firms request.
"In order to make Baku-Ceyhan attractive now, the decisive role should be played by Turkey," he said.
In addition to financing, Aliyev said Turkey should offer several oil terminals and construction facilities already in place to make the pipeline more attractive.
A consortium of international oil companies is expected to make its recommendation soon on which pipeline route it favours.
The viability of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline is in question given that its price tag is approaching $ 4 billion and world oil prices are at decade lows.
In addition, many oil companies have said there won't be enough crude volumes in the region for several years to justify the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline.
Aliyev said oil volumes should be large enough in two years to make the pipeline viable.

Source: not available
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