Turks want to merge Botas and TPAO into energy flagship

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish officials want to combine the country’s two major state-owned energy companies Botas and TPAO to create a more powerful energy firm for Turkey, the head petroleum company TPAO told Reuters yesterday. «(The merger) is everyone’s wish… Everyone believes there has to be a strong oil company. We are in the middle of the Middle East, Europe and Asia, and we need a company to act in the international arena,» acting Chairman and President of Turkish Petroleum Corp (TPAO) Mehmet Uysal told Reuters. Turkey’s pipeline company Botas and TPAO have played a large role as Turkey tries to raise its profile as a regional energy hub in recent years. Botas represents Turkey as one of the five signatory countries to the Nabucco pipeline project, designed to bring Caspian and Middle East gas to European markets. While no concrete steps have been taken yet, said Uysal, there is support. «There is political support behind it, but so far nothing has happened,» he said. Botas’s annual turnover is $11 billion, while TPAO’s revenues are roughly $3 billion, said Saltuk Duzyol, acting chairman of the board of directors of Botas in an interview to state-run Anatolian agency, published in newspaper Zaman. Both TPAO and Botas plan to develop and export Iranian gas in a plan worth approximately $3.5 billion. Energy officials have said the gas could be used to help fill Nabucco.