Turkey Raises Alarm over Jammed Bosphorus, Wants PipelinesEnergy | July 1, 2010, Thursday // 19:01| views
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Y?ld?z. Photo by Hurriyet
Turkish government officials have sounded alarm bells about the excessive ship traffic through the Bosphorus Strait at a meeting with representatives of some 20 major world oil companies including Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron and BP.
“Oil-tanker transportation through the straits is not sustainable anymore,” Environment Minister Veysel Eroglu said Thursday, as cited by the Turkish paper Hurriyet Daily, following the summit during which the government and the companies agreed in principle that precautionary measures must be taken to protect Istanbul’s heavily trafficked Bosphorus Strait from an environmentally disastrous oil spill.
The Minister elaborated that a total of 51 424 ships passed through the Bosphorus in 2009 alone, which is four times more than the traffic through the Panama Canal and three times more than that of the Suez Canal.
Thus, the measures suggested by both the Turkish government and the companies revolved around restrictions on the number of tankers passing through the Istanbil straits as well as switching gradually to transporting oil through land-based pipelines.
“The Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline route has relieved the tanker traffic in the straits of 50 million tons of oil annually,” said Turkey’s energy minister, adding that if this route had not been built, there would be 24 or 25 tankers passing through the straits each day instead of 20.
The government is proposing an alternative pipeline from the Black Sea city of Samsun to Ceyhan, a Mediterranean port.
Turkey also wants progress on stalled plans for the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline, connecting the Bulgarian port of Burgas and the Greek port of Alexandroupolis. The Burgas-Alexandroupolis and Samsun-Ceyhan projects are often viewed as competing with one another.
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