Turkey to hold talks with oil firms over straits safety

Turkey planned a meeting on July 1 to get together with global giant oil companies and oil producer countries to discuss how to lighten tanker traffic and prevent accidents.

Turkey to hold talks with oil firms over straits safety

Turkey's transportation, foreign, energy and environment ministers appeared at a joint press conference on Tuesday to express uneasiness over the increasing vessel traffic on its Istanbul and Canakkale straits, the sole maritime route between Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

"It is obvious that we cannot allow more oil transport through these straits considering their geographical characteristics and rising demand for transportation of crude oil," Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim said.

"Structure of straits has proved that current situation is no longer sustainable," Yildirim said.

Every year, some 50,000 vessels pass through Istanbul and Canakkale straits, carrying nearly 150 million tons of freight. Some 10,000 of these vessels are oil tankers that carry 100 million tons of crude oil every year.

Yildirim said Istanbul Strait poses the highest risk of a maritime accident in the world which pushed Turkey to take extreme measures to avoid perils.

However, he said all these measures cannot help Turkey allow more vessel, especially tanker traffic on straits.

"So, oil producer countries in the Black Sea region and oil companies carrying crude oil to other places in the world should seek alternative ways to ship oil," Yildirim said.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz pointed at the alternative, saying, "Burgas-Alexandroupolis and Samsum-Ceyhan oil pipelines could be alternative ways to ease traffic over
straits."

Turkey planned a meeting on July 1 to get together with global giant oil companies and oil producer countries to discuss how to lighten tanker traffic and prevent accidents. Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Rosneft and BP are among energy producers invited to the July 1 meeting.

"We will make clear at the meeting that current situation is far from a sustainable traffic management," Environment Minister Veysel Eroglu said.

Turkish government intensified its efforts for safer straits following the oil spill from a BP offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said there were lessons to learn from Gulf of Mexico oil spill and said an optimum solution was needed in the shortest time possible, taking into account interests of Turkey as well as commercial and energy interests of Black Sea countries.

"We will focus on a solution which will continue commercial flow over straits," Davutoglu said.


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Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Haziran 2010, 16:41

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