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Turkey Detains Manager of SOCAR-Held Refinery

Petkim plant

Turkey has detained the general manager of the Petkim petrochemical refinery, Sadettin Korkut, in what seems like an extension of the post-attempted-coup purge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is currently enforcing in the country.

Korkut is one of the dozens of Petkim employees who have been fired since the local energy authority called upon companies to dismiss supporters of US-based Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan is blaming for the July 15 coup attempt.

Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR, which holds 56 percent in the Petkim refinery via two Turkish subsidiaries, said on Thursday that Korkut had been dismissed on Wednesday. SOCAR also appointed SOCAR Greece’s current head Anar Mammadov to serve as general manager at Pektim.

Pektim is just one of many investments SOCAR has in Turkey. The Azeri company is building the STAR Refinery on the Aegean coast, which is expected to start test production in 2017 and go online in 2018. The refinery is planned to have an annual capacity of 10 million tons, including 1.6 million tons of naphtha to feed the Petkim plant. The refinery is also designed to produce diesel, jet fuel and LPG.

SOCAR also holds a majority 58-percent stake in the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project, planned to ship gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz-2 gas field to Turkey and on to southern Europe, as an alternative to the Russian gas supplies.

Since the attempted coup in mid-July, however, not only has confidence in Turkey waned but concerns over the country’s energy security have also increased. Turkey has suspended, removed or sacked at least 60,000 employees in the judiciary, military, education and security services since July 15. In recent days, the purge has extended to media organizations, energy firms and the financial sector.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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