STAR Refinery, a subsidiary of SOCAR, the largest private-sector investor in Turkey, has contributed approximately $800 million to the reduction of Turkey’s current account deficit in 2019 thanks to its oil production activities, the group's chairman has said.
STAR Refinery General Manager Mesut İlter told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the production stages of the refinery, which opened in October 2018, have been put into operation one by one since last year, and they reached full capacity in September.
İlter noted that last year was very important for the company, which offers products both domestically and abroad, stressing that the STAR Refinery had processed 7.1 million tons of crude oil in that year.
The refinery’s total capacity is 10 million tons, he added, noting that the company has also produced nearly 3.5 million tons of diesel, the most important item needed in fuel products in Turkey.
“Plus, we produced 1.2 million tons of jet fuel and naphtha, the raw material of the petrochemical industry,” İlter said.
Starting from February, nearly all of the raw material needs of one of Turkey's top-ranking industrial enterprises and the country's leading petrochemical company Petkim is covered by STAR Refinery.
“In 2019, we achieved most of our goals. We are now looking at 2020. As a major player of the Turkish economy and industry, STAR Refinery will continue to play a role in the market and become an organization that leads the market as of 2020,” he highlighted.
One of the company’s leading outputs is jet fuel production which also has a large share in consumption in Turkey.
Highlighting the country’s role as a bridge between the East and the West and being a connecting point for many long-haul flights, İlter said the number of passengers in the country is regularly increasing.
“There is nearly a 10% increase every year,” he said, adding this increase has only accelerated after the construction of Istanbul’s new mega airport, Istanbul Airport.
“Istanbul’s air transport, with the opening of the airport, has reached a significant size,” he said, adding that, accordingly, about a 5.3 million tons of jet fuel consumption was recorded in Turkey in 2019.
Stating that this growth will continue despite being affected by the developments in the global economy from time to time, İlter emphasized that STAR Refinery has a production capacity of 1.5 million tons of jet fuel per year, through which they aim to meet Turkey’s overall need.
He noted that approximately 90% of jet fuel in Turkey had already been obtained through domestic production.
"We produced 1.2 million tons of jet fuel in 2019, and we have a very large portion of the domestic market. We have also exported a quantity of it. Our goal as the STAR Refinery is to meet Turkey’s domestic needs and to reduce the country’s foreign trade deficit in the fuel sector. Turkey, with jet fuel that we produce at full capacity, will have no need to import it,” he stressed. İlter also added that the refinery’s production had a zero-sulfur rate.
$1.5B surplus target
Underlining that the company’s target is processing 10 million tons of crude oil in 2020, İlter further noted that they have reached the aimed company turnover last year, which mainly came from domestic sales. Now they aim to reduce the foreign trade deficit by $1.5 billion by processing that amount of crude oil.
“When we work with a capacity of 10 million tons, which is the capacity of STAR Refinery, we will have an additional contribution of 1.5 billion dollars to the foreign trade balance,” he noted.
SOCAR Turkey's investments include Petkim, Turkey's leading petrochemicals manufacturer; STAR Refinery, which began operations in 2018; the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP), which is set to transport Caspian gas through Turkey and onward to Europe, and Petlim, the largest container port on Turkey's Aegean Sea coast.
SOCAR and BP plan 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.