SK E&C sets sights on $15b canal project in Turkey

South Korean builder SK Engineering and Construction’s top official has expressed intent to lead a canal project in Turkey, citing its track record in multiple projects in the nation.Dubbed Canal Istanbul, the project involves building a 45-kilometer-long waterway that connects the Black Sea with the Marmara Sea. It is reportedly estimated to cost some $15 billion.

“(Canal Istanbul) is a major project both in terms of value and importance,” Lee Seung-soo, vice president of SK E&C, was quoted as saying Wednesday by a Turkish state-run news agency, Anadolu Agency.

“We have our experience in Turkey,” he added, citing the firm’s past involvement in projects to build the Eurasia Tunnel and Canakkale 1915 Bridge.

An image of a construction site for Eurasia Tunnel built by SK E&C. (SK E&C)

According to Lee, the construction arm of the SK conglomerate was offered a chance to take part in the construction by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during his visit to South Korea last week. South Korean President Moon Jae-in also supported the deal in the making.

“It means it is up to us now,” Lee said.

But the company remained cautious in its official position, saying, “There are no decisions or details to confirm.”

By Son Ji-hyoung