BTC, operated by BP, today announced that linefill has been completed and the first cargo of oil, which had traveled 1,768 km across Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey through the BTC pipeline to Ceyhan, has been loaded onto the tanker British Hawthorn.
The tanker sailed away from the new Ceyhan Marine Terminal on the Mediterranean coast at 14:15 Baku time today.
This first tanker lifting at Ceyhan, with about 600,000 barrels of crude cargo, marks the start of export of Azerbaijan’s oil via the BTC oil pipeline to world markets, bypassing the Turkish Straits. The oil will initially come from the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea and is expected to be joined by other volumes in the future including from across the Caspian.
The start of BTC operations follows the complete testing, commissioning and filling of the BTC pipeline along its entire route starting in May last year from the Sangachal Terminal on the Caspian coast near Baku to the Ceyhan Terminal on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. A total of 10 million barrels of oil, which came from the ACG field, was required to fill the pipeline, with the oil arriving at Ceyhan at 23:00 hours Baku time on May 28, 2006 enabling the loading for the first lifting.
David Woodward, BP’s Associate President in Azerbaijan, said: “The First Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oil export from Ceyhan is the culmination of years of work by many thousands of people from the three countries – the workforce, communities, companies, regional and international governments, partners and our own staff. This is truly a world class project in all respects and we are very proud of what we have achieved together.”
The official inauguration of the 1,076 kilometer- long Turkish section of the pipeline, the Ceyhan Terminal and the full BTC system is planned in July. The Turkish section 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 kilometer-long jetty to allow the simultaneous loading of two tankers of up to 300,000 deadweight tonnes.
The BTC Co. shareholders are: BP (30.1%, operator); 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 1768km 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.
Nicholas David in BP’s London Press Office, tel. +44 (20)7496 4708
Tamam Bayatly in BP’s Baku Press Office, tel. (+994 12) 599-4557
Murat Lecompte in BP’s Ankara Press Office, tel. (+90 216) 571 20 02