Prospects for a central Asian crude oil pipeline to the Mediterranean through Turkey have been enhanced by a fatal accident in the Bosporus on 13 March (MEED 25:3:94, Turkey). The collision between a tanker and a coaster is expected to put pressure on central Asian oil companies to export crude to the Mediterranean by pipeline, not tanker.

If Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan continue using the Black Sea route, an additional 75 million tonnes of crude will pass through the Bosporus every year.

Ankara is to impose restrictions on ships longer than 150 metres from July in a bid to increase safety. The regulations are expected to create costly delays for oil tankers and make the option to lay a pipeline to the Mediterranean more attractive for Asian oil companies.

Turkey’s Botas is promoting a plan to build a pipeline from Kazakh, Azeri and Russian fields to Ceyhan in the Mediterranean gulf of Iskenderun.