BTC Celebrates Full Commissioning

23 July 2006

The official inauguration of the Turkish section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil export pipeline, the new Ceyhan marine export terminal and the full BTC pipeline export system was held today at the Ceyhan terminal on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. 
The event, hosted by the Turkish Government, was attended by their Excellencies Ahmet Nejdet Sezer, President of Turkey, President Ilham Aliyev of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, together with visiting senior government and state officials, senior executives of BTC owner companies and business representatives.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony at Ceyhan, Lord Browne, chief executive of BP, the operator of BTC, said: “The commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is a significant step in the long history of the oil industry. It reintegrates significant oil supplies from the Caspian into the global market for first time in a century. On behalf of BP, I would like to express our thanks to all those, who made it possible to get to this point. 

“I’d like to thank the thousands of extraordinary people from the three countries directly involved – Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey - and the people from many others beyond whose support and involvement was indispensable - the members of the workforce, the inhabitants of local communities, the companies, governments, international institutions, our partners and, of course, our own staff. 

BTC is the first great engineering project of the 21st century.” 

David Woodward, BP Azerbaijan Associate President, said: “Collectively, this is a demonstration that through the efforts of thousands of people over the past 12 years we have been able to make a project which many thought ‘impossible’ become a reality. I would like to join Lord Browne in thanking everyone involved - the host governments, our partners, lenders, contractors, BP staff and the people of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey for their tremendous effort, cooperation and support.” 
The 1076 km Turkish section of the BTC export system includes four pump stations, two metering stations and the Ceyhan marine export terminal, which itself consists of seven one million barrel capacity crude oil storage tanks, and a two and a half kilometer-long jetty to allow the simultaneous loading of two tankers of up to 300,000 deadweight tonnes. 

A total of 10 million barrels of oil, from the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) fields in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, was required to fill the pipeline. The oil put into the pipeline at the Sangachal Terminal near Baku in May 2005 reached the Ceyhan terminal on May 28 2006. The first tanker loaded with oil which had flowed through the BTC pipeline, 1,768 km across Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey from Sangachal to Ceyhan, sailed away from the Mediterranean coast of Turkey on June 4.

Since that time seven tanker cargoes of oil from the ACG field, have been lifted from Ceyhan amounting to a total of about 4.8 million barrels. During this early phase the pipeline throughput will vary but has been over 400,000 barrels per day and this number will increase to one million barrels per day by 2008. While the pipeline will continue initially to carry ACG oil, it is expected that in the future other volumes, including those from across the Caspian, will flow via BTC. 

The BTC Co. shareholders are: BP (30.1%); AzBTC (25.00%); Chevron (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%).

Notes to Editors: 

The BTC pipeline will allow one million barrels of oil a day to be exported safely and responsibly from the Caspian without increasing tanker traffic through the already crowded Turkish Straits. 
The pipeline uses 46/42/34” diameter pipe. It has eight pump stations and 98 valve stations across the three transit countries. The pipeline crosses more than 1500 rivers and climbs to a high point of 2,800 metres before returning to sea level at Ceyhan. 

BTC is a world-class project, which is expected to make a positive difference by bringing significant benefits to the region. By avoiding the Turkish Straits, it will help relieve the inevitable growth in oil related traffic and associated environmental risks, while creating substantial revenues for the transit countries, and will help strengthen economic and political links between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and the West. 

Further information:
David Nicholas in BP’s London Press Office, tel. +44 (20)7496 4708
Tamam Bayatly in BP’s Baku Press Office, tel. (+994 12) 599 45 57
Murat Lecompte in BP’s Ankara Press Office, tel. (+90 216) 571 20 02
Rusudan Medzmariashvili in BP’s Tbilisi Press Office, tel. +995 32 593 400