Basekim, a Turkish bitumen holding and supply firm, is strategically expanding its operations into the Bulgarian and Romanian market. The company plans to facilitate regular bitumen shipments to the Bulgarian and Romanian Black Sea port of Burgas and Constanta. The majority of these shipments will be transported by rail to the inland Floresti terminal in Romania.

Bitumen bulk
Bulk bitumen

The inaugural railcar shipment, totaling approximately 3,000 tons, successfully reached Floresti by the end of last week. This shipment was made possible through a seamless ship-to-railcar transfer process at the Burgas port. The bitumen cargo originated from Basekim Black Sea terminal in Iskenderun and was transported aboard the bitumen tanker Sidra, boasting a deadweight tonnage of 4,999.

Notably, the bitumen cargoes sourced from Iskenderun originate from refinery production in Iraqi Kurdistan. Basekim’s local subsidiary, Oilpro Romania, manages the 5,500 cubic meter Floresti terminal. Additionally, the subsidiary oversees a 16,500 cubic meter bitumen storage and supply facility in Medgidia, strategically located along a canal connected to the primary oil and bitumen terminal facilities at Constanta, Romania’s Black Sea port.

The remaining volumes from the first Sidra cargo, estimated at 1,000-1,500 tons, are anticipated to be directed to an inland Bulgarian terminal operated by a local entity. Basekim has already executed its second consecutive Iskenderun loading cargo on the Sidra, further solidifying its presence in the market. Additional cargo movements are planned throughout the peak demand season, with Basekim exploring the option of continuing operations with the Sidra or potentially chartering a larger bitumen tanker in the 5,500-6,000 deadweight ton range.

Simultaneously, Basekim is eagerly awaiting the delivery of its new-build bitumen tanker, the Asphalt Carbokim, boasting a deadweight tonnage of 8,500. This vessel, currently under construction at a Chinese shipyard, is expected to play a significant role in Black Sea shipments, particularly targeting the Romanian market and exploring potential movements on cross-Mediterranean routes.

Basekim entry into the Romanian market will intensify competition, particularly with Bulgarian and Greek truck exports to Romania offering competitively priced alternatives. Notably, domestically produced volumes at Rompetrol’s Vega refinery in Ploiesti command higher prices. Bulgarian bitumen flows primarily originate from Lukoil’s Burgas refinery, which currently produces an estimated 25,000-30,000 tons per month for both domestic and regional export markets.