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Brussels, 13 July 2006
Oil production and exports form NIS Caspian countries are projected to grow significantly in the near future, particularly those from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline has been built to provide these countries with an adequate infrastructure for its growing oil shipments to the international markets.
The BTC pipeline has a throughput capacity of 1 million barrels per day (to be reached by 2008).
The BTC measures 1770 kilometres and links the Sangachal Terminal near Baku (Azerbaijan) to the Ceyhan Terminal on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. From Baku the pipeline traverses westwards to Azeri and Georgian territory and then turns southwards crossing Turkey up to the Mediterranean coast.
The pipeline will allow Caspian oil shipments to reach the Mediterranean coast thereby bypassing the Turkish straits, which are dangerously congested with oil tanker traffic.
The operator of the BTC pipeline is BP The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline Company (BTC Co) was created in 2001 to construct, own and operate the pipeline. BTC Co shareholders are: BP (30,1%), SOCAR (25,00%), Unocal (8,90%), Statoil (8,71%), TPAO (6,53%), Eni (5,00%), Total (5,00%), Itochu (3,40%), INPEX (2,50%), ConocoPhillips (2,50%) and Amerada Hess (2,36%).
First oil volumes were supplied to Turkey along the BTC on the 28th of May 2006. Two tankers have been shipped form the port of Ceyhan so far, the first on the 4th of June and the second on the 21st of June. The owners of the consignments were BP and TRAO. According to the analysis SOCAR (the Azeri company), the Azeri party will receive the first shipments of its oil in the port of Ceyhan by mid-August.
Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have recently signed an oil transportation agreement under which Kazakhstan has joined the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. The pipeline will thus be able to carry oil from Kazakhstan Kashagan filed in the Caspian Sea. It has been estimated that the output form the Kashagan oil field won’t begin until 2009-2010.
The lifetime of the BTC pipeline is projected to be at least 40 years in operation.
As things stand, the construction of the entire length of the pipeline as well as the pump stations along it has been completed and the entire pipeline filled with Azeri-ACG crude.