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LUKoil to build oil pipeline in Turkey - paper

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LUKoil [RTS: LKOH] is planning to build an oil pipeline in Turkey to supply Europe with refined oil, a local newspaper said Monday.
ANKARA, August 14 (RIA Novosti) - LUKoil [RTS: LKOH] is planning to build an oil pipeline in Turkey to supply Europe with refined oil, a local newspaper said Monday.

The president of Russia's largest oil producer, Vagit Alekperov, discussed the construction an oil refinery in Turkey's Black Sea province of Zonguldak on August 8 with the head of the country's Energy Market Regulatory Authority, Yusuf Gunay. He said $3 billion could be invested in the facility, which will have planned refining capacity of 60-70 million barrels.

"A global oil giant, Russia's LUKoil, is planning to supply oil refined at the facility in Zonguldak via an oil pipeline to Izmit [a Turkish port on the Sea of Marmara] bypassing the Bosporus Strait," Turkish newspaper Sabah said, adding that oil would be transported by tankers to major European and global markets.

Commenting on LUKoil's plans, experts warned that they could jeopardize the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline project mulled by Turkish Calik energy holding and Italy's ENI, the newspaper said.

Turkey sees the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline as an alternative to oil transit through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits and a means to avoid a potential environmental disaster from over-use of the shipping channels. Oil transit via the Bosphorus, which divides east and west Turkey, and the Dardanelles in the country's northwest reached 150 mln tons (1 bln bbl) in 2004, up from 65 mln tons (476 mln bbl) in 1996.

But Alekperov earlier said LUKoil's arrival would boost competition on the Turkish market. "I think competition will mount with the entry to the market of a company that [both] produces oil and runs a distribution network."

He also said LUKoil would open its first filling stations in Turkey in September.

In Russia, the company owns four refineries and about 1,500 filling stations.

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