ECONOMY

SOCAR plans multimillion dollar investment in Turkey's gas storage capacity

An aerial view of the Lake Tuz Natural Gas Storage Facility, located in central Anatolia. (IHA Photo)

SOCAR AQS, an Azerbaijani integrated drilling and well services management company, will dig 40 wells to expand the storage capacity at the Lake Tuz (Tuz Golü) Natural Gas Storage Facility, located in central Anatolia, the head of SOCAR AQS announced Tuesday.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), Director General of SOCAR AQS Ramin Isayev said that by expanding the facility, tens of millions of dollars would be invested specifically for storage expansion at the Lake Tuz facility.

Currently, the facility can store 600 million cubic meters of natural gas and has another 600 million cubic meters of capacity under construction with plans to reach 5.4 billion cubic meters by 2023-24.

Together with SOCAR AQS, China CAMC Engineering Co. Ltd. along with İC İçtaş Construction Industries & Trade Inc. will jointly work to carry out the expansion project.

To execute this project, SOCAR AQS opened a representative office in Ankara on Oct. 18, the same day that Azerbaijan commemorated the 28th anniversary of its independence, an event that Isayev described as a "meaningful and nice coincidence."

Commenting on the Tuz Lake expansion project, he explained that the company aims to deliver the project by efficiently drilling the wells on time and within budget.

The Tuz Lake project is in the planning stage with the current mobilization of people and equipment, he explained.

"We would like to get involved in other projects in Turkey, in drilling for underground storage if needed and for oil and gas," he said.

Isayev explained that Azerbaijan is exporting its oil and natural gas across Turkish territory through SOCAR, Azerbaijan's state oil company, which is also considered one of the biggest investors in Turkey with facilities located in Turkey's İzmir and Adana regions.

The Azerbaijani giant has so far realized around $14.2 billion out of its planned $19.5 billion investment in Turkey, to be made by 2020. It began investing in Turkey after it acquired the country's leading petrochemical company, Petkim in 2008 for $2 billion.

SOCAR Turkey's investments include Petkim, Turkey's leading petrochemicals manufacturer; the STAR Refinery, which began operations in 2018; the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP), which will transport Caspian gas through Turkey and onward to Europe; and Petlim, the largest container port on Turkey's Aegean Sea coast.

SOCAR, together with BP, plans to launch the construction of a new petrochemical plant in Turkey at the end of 2020. The investment cost of the SOCAR-BP joint project is expected to stand around $1.8 billion and the construction is expected to be completed by 2023.

"I think Azerbaijan and Turkey are strategic partners in the field of energy developments. I hope that both Turkey and Azerbaijan will strengthen bilateral relations to our mutual benefit," he concluded.

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