Invitations to tender for feasibility studies on a proposed $2,500 million-3,000 million Central Asian oil pipeline were to be issued to seven firms in the week ending 28 June.

This followed talks on funding the studies in Ankara between the World Bank and related government departments, including state pipeline agency Botas.

The World Bank has agreed to finance the studies, according to the semi-official Anatolian news agency. Sources in Botas declined to name the seven firms, but said they included one each from Canada, Italy and Germany, and two each from the US and the UK. However, industry sources say the US’ Brown & Root is included in the list.

Awarded according to World Bank procedures, the feasibility studies are to start by November, according to the Anatolian report. The successful firm would be selected by 31 July, the report adds.

Ankara decided in the spring to focus on the Central Asian pipeline after the terms of its financing offer of $239 million for a pipeline through Georgia to the Black Sea to carry early oil exports from a massive concession in Azerbajan’s sector of the Caspian Sea were turned down (MEED 24:5:96).

The proposed Central Asian pipeline would be able to carry about 25 million tonnes annually of Azeri crude, plus another 20 million tonnes annually from other oil-rich former Soviet states in Central Asia, notably Kazakhstan.

Botas itself is in the process of forming an offshore subsidiary to handle oil and gas transactions for Turkey in the international marketplace. The company will be headquartered in Jersey, one of the UK’s Channel Islands.