Happy birthday BTC! 10 years of safe and reliable delivery

25 May marks the 10th anniversary of inauguration of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline. Ten years ago, on 25 May 2005, the inauguration ceremony took place at the Sangachal terminal near Baku. It  gathered together many high level officials, including President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Presidents of Turkey, Georgia, Kazakhstan, a large group of visiting senior government and state officials, senior executives and business representatives
The event officially marked the commencement of the first line fill phase of the BTC oil export pipeline.

It was the beginning of the long journey that Azerbaijan’s oil took from the Caspian to the world markets, benefiting the people of the three countries on its route and bridging the nations of the region. It enabled Azerbaijan to regain its important role in regional and international economic developments. 

“We regard BTC not only as a pipeline but also as a safe and reliable tool that re-opened the Caspian to the international oil industry after almost a century. BTC’s performance has to date exceeded its stakeholders’ expectations. For a decade it has safely and silently operated via three regional countries demonstrating that, if built and operated to international standards, pipelines can protect the environment, benefit the communities  in their neighbourhoods and generate wealth to the nations”, said Gordon Birrell, BP regional president for Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey (AGT) region.

Since that day, BTC has covered a long and glorious road and made a number of achievements.

In August 2005, the first barrels of the crude oil flowing through BTC reached the Azerbaijan –Georgian border and entered the Georgian section. A year later in June 2006, the first cargo of oil that travelled through BTC to Ceyhan, was loaded onto the tanker called British Hawthorn. On 11 August 2014, BTC celebrated the loading of the 2 billionth barrel of oil at the Ceyhan terminal in Turkey. Since first oil BTC has carried a total of about 2.2 billion barrels of crude oil, loaded on about 2900 tankers and shipped to world markets.

Recalling back these days, Ian Sutherland, BP AGT regional vice president said: “These were difficult but exciting times in bringing BTC into operation - a feat that many said could not be achieved. And now it is my pleasure to witness the transformation of BTC from a world-scale development project to a world-class pipeline business, having successfully shipped more than 2 billion barrels of oil in the intervening decade.”
BTC has received a number of awards, one of which is a Helios Award received in 2007 for delivering ‘mission impossible’ and achieving the biggest collective effort in BP’s history.

“BTC is one of the longest pipelines in the world with complex operations run by hundreds of people in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey - the BTC team. We are very proud of what has been achieved by this team, but most importantly, we are proud of our safety and efficiency achievements. The result is 2.2 billion barrels of crude transported and 2900 tankers loaded at Ceyhan.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who have turned BTC to a source of pride for us, for Azerbaijan and for the region. Congratulations to the BTC Team on achieving this major milestone”, commented Craig Wiggs, BP AGT  midstream vice president. “

It is not in vain that BTC has been considered the first great engineering project of the 21st century. 

The 1768 kilometre-long pipeline passes through more than 1,500 rivers and 13 seismically active fault crossings, climbing to a high point of 2,800 metres before returning to sea level at Ceyhan. It is buried in at least one metre depth and externally coated with a three-layered coating system to avoid corrosion. Its facilities include eight pump stations, one pressure reduction station, two intermediate pigging stations and 101 block valves. The pipeline allows over one million barrels of oil a day to be exported safely and responsibly from the Caspian.