President Ilham Aliyev and Jose Manuel Barroso visited the Sangachal Terminal

The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan HE Ilham Aliyev and the delegation led by President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso visited the Caspian Energy Centre and Sangachal Terminal on Saturday, 14 June 2014.

The guests were welcomed by Gordon Birrell, BP’s Regional President for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, who invited them to start tour of the facilities  from the Caspian Energy Centre, the unique facility in the region. The Centre, which promotes the country`s role in the world`s oil and gas industry was inaugurated in a ceremony attended by President Ilham Aliyev, senior officials from the USA, the UK, Turkey, Georgia and Kazakhstan in 2005. The opening of the centre coincided with the commissioning of the Azerbaijani section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main oil export pipeline. Since the opening up to date the Caspian Energy Centre hosted more than 45,000  visitors.
It was highlighted that the oil and gas industry is a matter of national pride for Azerbaijan. Through special timeline exhibit the history of oil and gas starting from ancient times up to date was presented at the Centre to the delegation. Some facts that make Azerbaijan’s oil and gas history unique were presented.

It has been stated that after Azerbaijan regained independence, under the leadership of Heydar Aliyev, a production sharing agreement on the development of the gigantic “Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli” field, touted as the Contract of the Century, was signed.  The contract put the country firmly back on track to once again become one of the world’s premier oil and gas producing nations.   

After the presentation of Azerbaijan oil history guests were invited to watch a short video about Shah Deniz and the Southern Gas Corridor Projects.

While touring the terminal, the Presidents were informed that  the  Sangachal Terminal is considered one of the largest and profitable oil and gas terminals around the world. The land footprint of the terminal is over 550 hectares, or over 5.5 million square meters, which equals to more than 600 football fields.  Its daily processing capacity is more than 1.2 billion barrels of crude oil and over 40 billion cubic meters of gas. The facility stores 3.2 million barrels of crude oil. The territory boasts an extensive network of pipelines and facilities, enabling the transportation of high-quality Azerbaijani crude oil and gas to world markets. The terminal also receives oil from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

It was highlighted that the terminal consists of two main parts: the Early Oil Project and Sangachal Terminal Expansion Programme. The Early Oil Project part was constructed to process, store and export oil from the Chirag field in the Caspian (the so-called Early Oil Project). This part of the terminal houses 4 crude oil storage tanks - 25,500 cubic metres each and can process, store and export in excess of 6 million tonnes of crude oil per year.

The terminal’s “eye and brain” the control room is capable of maintaining control over the operation of export pipelines running through Georgia and Turkey and detecting problems. Number of steps describing oil processing was described to the delegation and explained that there are eight different pipelines entering the terminal from offshore locations and eight leaving it. They head off in different directions carrying premium quality Azerbaijani crude oil and gas to the world markets. In addition, the terminal receives third party oil from Kazakhstan.

Sangachal can also receive over 40 million cubic meters of gas per day at the Shah Deniz Gas Plant. Located behind the exiting Shah-Deniz plant  there is an area to be expanded in the future. As part of the Shah-Deniz-2 project, expansion work will be carried out at the Sangachal Terminal. This will enable the processing of an additional 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year, almost tripling the overall gas processing capacity and further increasing the importance of the terminal to regional oil and gas industry. Over 5000 workers will be employed at the peak of construction.

The Sangachal terminal, with its oil and gas export systems, place Azerbaijan firmly at the heart of a regional energy network, which unlocks the value of Caspian resources and re-establishes the country at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.