BAKU (Reuters) – Azeri state energy company SOCAR plans to supply its new refinery in Turkey with oil from different producers in Europe, the Black Sea region and the Gulf, the head of SOCAR’s trading arm said in an interview.
SOCAR last month launched the $6.3 billion SOCAR Turkey Aegean Refinery (STAR), the first to be built in Turkey for the past 30 years.
The facility on Turkey’s Aegean coast will supply feedstock to Turkish petrochemicals firm Petkim <PETKM.IS> to help cut Turkey’s dependence on imports of refined oil products. It will boost the country’s refining capacity by 25-30 percent.
“Initial consumption (of oil) will be 100,000 barrels per day with a further increase to 215,000 bpd,” Adnan Ahmadzadeh, SOCAR Trading executive chairman, said in answers to Reuters questions sent by email.
“SOCAR Trading will supply oil (to STAR) from different producers at ports in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and Persian Gulf, as well as from Russian company Rosneft <ROSN.MM>.”
He said the company had secured contracts to buy А-92 grade gasoline from producers in Russia, Switzerland and Turkmenistan due to planned maintenance at the Azeri Heydar Aliyev refinery in the capital Baku.
Russia and Swiss company Vitol have provided around 30,000 tonnes of gasoline each, while around 5,000-10,000 tonnes will be shipped from Turkmenistan.
Geneva-based SOCAR Trading was set up in 2007 and has become a global player in the last few years, having previously been only a marketer of its country’s crude, Azeri Light. Poaching top traders from established rivals, it moved into paper trading and third-party oil.
Ahmadzadeh said oil was still “playing a central role” in the firm’s trading strategy, having a 50 percent share in its portfolio.
The firm last year traded 1.54 million bpd of crude oil, of which about 1.06 million bpd was from third parties, it said in July. Combining crude and oil products, it traded 104 million tonnes. The firm also started trading liquefied natural gas in 2017.
Ahmadzadeh said the company had decided to reduce the share of fuel oil – recently at 30 percent – in its trading portfolio.
“The strategic decision has been made, but it will start to reflect on figures in 2019,” he said.
Ahmadzadeh said SOCAR Trading was open to discussions on obtaining crude from Russia’s Filanovsky and Rakushechnoye oilfields in the Caspian Sea operated by Russian company Lukoil <LKOH.MM>, with shipment via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.
“We are ready for dialogue on these oilfields and don’t see any problems from a technical viewpoint on getting these oil flows,” he said.
Ahmadzadeh said the company would soon start selling polypropylene and low-pressure polyethylene from SOCAR’s polymer plant, which started operating in August.
The main export markets will be Turkey, Europe, China and India.
As for the fertiliser carbamide (urea), which is expected to be produced at a plant in the city of Sumgait in 2019, exports will focus on Turkey, Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Greece, Israel and Italy. Annual production is estimated at 600,000 tonnes.