Billionaire ships sixfold of Turkey’s oil necessity

Billionaire ships sixfold of Turkey’s oil necessity

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
Billionaire ships sixfold of Turkey’s oil necessity

Gurbanoğlu says his firm ,Palmali, carried 127 million tons of oil in 2012.

Mübariz Mansimov Gurbanoğlu, an energy-sector billionaire of Azeri descent, said his company Palmali carried 127 million tons of oil and oil products last year alone and his company is the world leader in terms of tonnage.

“Turkey’s annual crude oil need is 20 million tons, but we carried sixfold this amount by ourselves in 2012,” Gurbanoğlu told daily Hürriyet in an interview. He said the biggest advantage of Palmali is having long-term, minimum ten-year contracts with giant firms like Azeri state-run oil firm Socar or Russia’s second oil producer Lukoil.

Last year was the most lucrative and luckiest year for Palmali as it bought 12 ships when everyone was saying the ship sector was over, the businessman said.

Gurbanoğlu, who has been named the 26th wealthiest man in Turkey and the wealthiest in Azerbaijan, also said he had no partnership with anyone, responding to claims he benefited from nepotism by state presidents such as Azerbaijani President Haydar Aliyev and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I admit that I haven’t managed to come to these days alone; I came with my team. I’m not partners with any state presidents, or even any state official,” Gurbanoğlu said during the interview. “I might have had friendships, but I have never been partners and I won’t.”

Gurbanoğlu owns four different companies in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Russia, but the base of Palmali Holding is Malta, where all the financial transactions and managerial staff are based.

He also said his company would take part in the tender for the privatization of Turkish ports singularly or jointly with Turkish companies.

Turkey is preparing to privatize seven ports in the next month, whetting both local and foreign firms’ appetites. Three of the world’s giant container firms, Maersk, CMA-CMG and MSC, also have their eyes on Turkish ports, especially those in İskenderun and İzmir, according to last week’s Reuters report.

Palmali’s main operation fields are the energy and shipping sectors, while it also conducts business in the tourism, construction and marina fields. Gurbanoğlu also owns a dairy products company operating only in Azerbaijan, which dominates 65 percent of the domestic sector.