Turkey fires head of pipeline operator Botas

The Turkish government, without indicating a reason, fired Saltuk Duzyol, who became general manager and chairman at state pipeline operator Botas in December 2007 after serving as deputy chairman from 2004.

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 19 -- The Turkish government, without indicating a reason, fired Saltuk Duzyol, who became general manager and chairman at state pipeline operator Botas in December 2007 after serving as deputy chairman from 2004. No replacement was named.

The Official Gazette gave no explanation for the dismissal, but analyst IHS Global Insight reported frequent speculation Duzyol would be dismissed as he was often “at odds” with the Turkish Energy Ministry and management of TPAO, the state upstream oil and gas firm.

“Duzyol had advocated for a stronger role for Botas, both in moving upstream into TPAO’s domain, as well as opposing government measures to unbundle Botas and end its monopoly on gas imports and transportation,” IHS Global Insight said.

Independent energy analyst Haluk Diresekeneli said Duzyol was not in line with the administration's policies and, regarding certain issues, he was a setback for the ministry.

In particular, according to Diresekeneli, Duzyol wanted to keep Botas a powerful player in the domestic market and opposed the administration's policy of unbundling Botas and selling contracts to private gas companies.

In September, Duzyol told delegates at a Caspian gas conference in Baku that, due to the global crisis, Turkey's gas market had shrunk by 15% this year to 32 billion cu m, leading to what he called "supply overhang problems."

As a result, Duzyol said Botas was in talks with all of its natural gas suppliers—Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan—about temporarily putting take-or-pay obligations on hold. He said ít was “not so easy” to manage the take-or-pay situation and that Botas was “desperately” looking to lower gas prices.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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