Three new refineries seen too many

ISTANBUL/ANKARA (Reuters) -Turkey has plans to build three oil refineries at its southern oil terminal Ceyhan as part of a drive to turn it into an energy hub, but analysts say they doubt more than one refinery would be necessary. Energy-hungry Turkey currently has four refineries with a total capacity of 27.6 million tons a year, or 552,000 barrels per day (bpd). They are owned by Tupras, privatized to a Koc Holding-led consortium last year. Tupras meets about 70 percent of the country’s petroleum products needs. Both the government and energy regulator think Turkey needs new refineries to lessen imports and to export to Middle East, Mediterranean and European markets. «What we want is to contribute to the world’s energy security by creating a hub at Ceyhan,» a senior energy official told Reuters. «At peak levels about 200 million tons of crude will flow into Ceyhan annually,» he said. The government has mandated Italian Eni and Turkey’s Calik Enerji to build a 1.5-million-bpd, 550-kilometer pipeline from the Black Sea town of Samsun to Ceyhan to carry Kazakh oil. Tahir Uysal, head of BP’s Turkey operations, told Reuters only one of the three new refineries, planned to be able to process up to 35 million tons a year, would be sufficient for Turkey and its export needs. Energy regulator EPDK has recently allowed Petrol Ofisi, a consortium of Turkey’s Calik Enerji and Indian Oil Corp, and another of Azeri Socar and Turkey’s Turcas to set up refineries at Ceyhan, which currently handles oil from Caspian and Iraq to Western markets.