Turkey plans tighter restrictions on oil, gas tankers moving through straits
Speaking at the second Black Sea Energy and Economy Forum held by the Atlantic Council in Istanbul, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz yesterday said the government plans to introduce tighter restrictions on petroleum and natural gas tankers crossing the Istanbul and Canakkale Straits. Stating that 150-170 million tons of crude oil and natural gas are transported through the two straits every day, Yildiz said the risks from this are too grave. Citing the Deepwater Horizon oil spill earlier this year in the Gulf of Mexico, which lasted nearly six months and was the worst environmental disaster in US history, Yildiz said the consequences for Istanbul if a disaster 10 times smaller than the BP oil spill takes in the Bosporus are unimaginable. Under the planned restrictions, the spaces between oil and natural gas tankers crossing the straits will reportedly be rearranged, and security standards for tankers will be strengthened. Turkey cannot ignore its obligations under international agreements to which it is a party, Yildiz said, but added that as the new restrictions are tightened, alternative transportation solutions will be developed, including the Samsun-Ceyhan and Burgaz-Dedeagac pipelines.