Haaretz - Israel may be on its way to becoming a crude oil transport bridge to the Far East. The Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) is leading an international initiative to channel crude oil from Jihan in southeast Turkey to eastern Asia, using its infrastructure in Israel. A consortium of energy firms and international shipping companies will manage the initiative, and a memorandum of understanding is expected to be signed within three months.
The oil would be pumped in Georgia and Azerbaijan, and be brought to Turkey by pipeline. From Turkey it will be shipped by tanker to Ashkelon, whence it would be transported by pipeline to Eilat. In Eilat, the oil wilbe be loaded onto a new set of tankers for transportation to eastern Asia.
The Ashkelon-Eilat Pipeline Company is a privately owned firm, owned jointly by Israel and the government of Iran. Tehran is currently not an active partner, and it and Israel are involved in international arbitration.
The project's entrepreneurs calculate that the savings to East Asian oil importers in time and costs generated by a regular transport line between Turkey and Israel could amount to $4 per ton, when compared with the cost of using the Suez Canal. Such a savings justifies investment in the project, as the cost of oil soars and growth rates in the developing nations of East Asia, and China and India in particular, continue to rise.