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IOC in talks to buy Turkey fuel co

December 18, 2007 17:00 IST

Indian Oil Corporation, the nation's biggest refiner, is in talks to acquire a fuel retailing company in Turkey as it expands operations in the country bordering Europe.

IOC has tied up with Calik Enerji of Turkey to takeover a fuel retailing company in Turkey, a company official said but declined to identify the target company.

The once state-owned POAS is the leading player in the distribution, marketing and storage of refining petroleum products in Turkey. Besides, several other companies also have a sizeable market share, including BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, and Turkish company Opet.

IOC had in consortium with Calik early this month won a license to build an oil refinery in Turkey. "It will be a 15 million tons refinery costing $4.9 billion," the official said. The refinery will be at Ceyhan, where the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and a pipeline from Iraq terminate. The refinery would cater to the export markets.

Calik Enerji and IOC are also building a $1.5 billion pipeline that is designed to carry Russian and Kazakh oil from the Black Sea port of Samsun to the Mediterranean, bypassing the congested and bad weather-prone

Turkish straits.

The official said IOC along with its exploration partner Oil India Ltd continues to look for acquisition of an overseas medium-sized oil producing company. "We have in the past looked at various opportunities but nothing has been finalised as yet. We want a company that may have oilfields in Africa or in countries that were part of the former Soviet Union." 

"We haven't identified any company as such. We keep looking and will continue to look at opportunities present in the market. I can state categorically that there is no acquisition proposal as of now," IOC chairman Sarthak Behuria said.

Earlier this year, IOC had lost out in the race for acquiring French company Maurel & Prom's stake in oilfields in Congo. In 2003, it had even looked at acquiring the entire Maurel & Prom but negotiations broke off on price. Then it looked at Niko Resources of Canada and Indian assets of Cairn Energy Plc of UK but was unsuccessful.

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