In 2017, we completed an expansion work on the Georgian section of the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), which will triple the amount of gas that is exported from the Caspian through the country.
While the pipelines are complete and largely out of sight, our investments in local communities continue to be visible. Our goal is to maintain good long-term relationships with the communities that live near our facilities, as well as create the right conditions to help small and medium-sized businesses grow.
We work with local non-governmental organizations, such as the Centre for Training and Consultancy, the Regional Development Association, and Elkana, a bio-farming association, to develop local economic capacity, improve agricultural production, and encourage small-scale business development.
For example, we work with villages located along the Western Route Export Pipeline that carries oil to the Black Sea port of Supsa. Here, we help to equip business owners with the skills, knowledge and tools they need to make the move from subsistence farming to more profitable enterprises.
We also support communities that live near our Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline and the adjacent SCP pipeline. Funded by BP and our pipeline partners, the programme has delivered more than 2,400 consultancy sessions. This has led to the formation of a variety of new businesses, such as crop spraying and car servicing. In addition, local people have completed many small-scale infrastructure projects, such as improvements to irrigation systems, renovations to schools and skills training for young people.
Giorgi Chilingarashvili runs the only bakery in the village of Arali, close to the western border with Turkey and adjacent to the BTC and SCP pipeline routes. Funding enabled Giorgi and his wife to purchase professional baking equipment and start their business in 2016. The bakery quickly became very popular by serving hot, fresh breakfasts to farmers heading to work in the fields and to children going to schools.
Community-based organizations have been involved in prioritizing, selecting and implementing some elements of the initiative. Several have gone on to use their new skills to help secure alternative sources of funding for other community projects.
Over the past three years, we have supported almost 600 small businesses in Georgia and created around 800 jobs. Approximately 45% of those businesses are managed by women.
We have been in Georgia since 1996, where our focus is on the safe transportation and delivery of energy, operating in a sustainable manner