(MENAFN- The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) The Star Refinery, the first oil refinery project in Turkey since 1975, will be online by March 2018, a $5.6 billion investment that will help decrease the country's current account gap by $2.5 billion annually, cutting Turkey's dependence on imported refined oil products, said the SOCAR Turkey CEO and board member of Petkim Petrochemical Holding, Kenan Yavuz.
"Our refinery will be fully operational by March 2018. We'll have an annual capacity of 10 million tons of refining products, a fourth of which will be used by petrochemicals maker Petkim and the remaining sold to the third parties " Turkey imports around $20 billion worth of refining and petrochemicals products annually " With the Star Refinery online, we will cut the current account gap $2.5 billion annually," Yavuz said.
SOCAR Turkey will also open the Petlim Container Port in the Aegean Sea this September to become an alternative to Greece's Piraeus Port for container shipments, according to Yavuz.
SOCAR plans to invest around $20 billion in Turkey, mainly on the Petkim Peninsula in the Aegean province of Ä°zmir, which will include extensive operations, a container port and the Star Refiners in addition to Petkim.
Regarding the possible effect of the planned gas pipeline project between Russia and Turkey dubbed "Turkish Stream" and the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project, a majority of stakes of which are owned by SOCAR, Yavuz said the company has no problem with any new projects.
"Europe is estimated to need around $600 billion cubic meters [bcm] of gas by 2020 and its production capacities have been decreasing. In such a big market, any [pipeline] project will not be an obstacle for another. Everything is clear about the TANAP. One of the key gas consumers of the region, Turkey's gas grid BOTAÅž, has already been a partner of the TANAP project. Through the Turkish Petroleum [TPAO], Turkey has already been a partner of the Shah Deniz, the main gas supplier of the TANAP. It will be no problem if Turkey even uses all of the gas," he said.
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