A venture of Germany’s PLE with the local Parmas is favourite to win a World Bank-supported consultancy contract for Ankara’s proposed $2,000 million-2,500 million Central Asian oil pipeline project, contracting sources say.

Negotiations in Ankara between the venture and state pipeline and gas agency Botas may be concluded soon for an official contract award, the sources say. The venture submitted a bid of $1.9 million, the second lowest of four bids, in October 1996 (MEED 18:10:96).

The studies will probably be completed by end-1997 for the 1,700-kilometre, 46-inch-diameter pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan to Turkey’s existing oil terminal at Ceyhan in the eastern Mediterranean Iskenderun Gulf, Botas sources say. About 1,090 kilometres of the pipeline will run through Turkish territory.

However, preliminary findings could be ready before the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), the holder of an oil concession on the Caspian Sea, makes a decision on its main oil export route or routes in June.

In spring 1996, the government decided to concentrate its efforts on the Central Asia pipeline as a means of transporting oil from the Caspian and elsewhere in Central Asia. The decision followed a rejection by the AIOC of an offer of $139 million by Ankara to finance a pipeline for early oil exports from the concession through Georgia to Soupsa on the Black Sea.