Today’s inauguration of the Georgian section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline marks a major step towards completion of this strategically important energy project, which will deliver a major new oil resource to global markets.
The official ceremony marking the transit of oil through Georgia was hosted by President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili at the BTC pumping station near Gardabani. It was attended by President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer of Turkey, BP Group managing director Iain Conn and a large group of government officials, senior executives of BTC owner companies and business representatives.
The 1,768-kilometre pipeline will carry one million barrels of oil a day from the BP-operated Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to the eastern Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, bypassing the sensitive and heavily used Bosphorus Straits. Staged filling of the pipeline is a gradual process over a period of several months, involving more than 10 million barrels of oil. The oil is currently on its way towards the Georgia/Turkish border, and the loading of the first tanker at Ceyhan is expected around the end of the year.
BP’s Iain Conn described the project as a “remarkable shared achievement”, thanking the many thousands of people who have worked to make it a reality over the last decade. “A project of this scale can only be realized with extraordinary co-operation between the three governments, investors and the partner companies involved. In total, the value of the BTC investment in Georgia alone will be close to $800 million. We will continue to operate in this country for many years to come, and BP looks forward to continuing its contribution and partnership as Georgia builds a secure and prosperous future.”
The pumping station inauguration will be followed by the opening of a BTC Cultural Heritage exhibition at the Georgian National Museum and a celebratory concert, featuring British band Simply Red, for the Georgian public at the Locomotive Stadium in Tbilisi.
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 is buried for its entire length and following construction, land is being fully re-instated. The Georgian section is 249 kilometres long, with a diameter of 42 inches. It crosses seven regions of Georgia, with a peak altitude of 2,400 metres. There are two pump stations, through which the oil passes: one at Gardabani and one at Tetritskaro.
The South Caucasus gas pipeline (SCP), will carry Shah Deniz gas from the Caspian to Georgia and Turkey and runs in parallel to BTC. It is currently 60% complete and on schedule to deliver first gas in the winter of 2006.
In addition, the project’s community investment programme (CIP) is well established in all three countries. Overall BTC and SCP, has spent some $30 million on community and environmental investment in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey during the construction phase. As we move into the operations phase, we are also implementing a Regional Development Initiative, which will address some of the regional and national challenges posed by the development of large-scale oil and gas businesses.
In Georgia, the BTC partners signed an agreement in October 2004 for a series of grants to be used for social and economic projects. Total funding amounts to $40 million through to 2010 with a further $1 million per year for the remaining life of the pipeline. As operator of the pipelines, BP made a separate commitment to Georgia by pledging $14.5 million for extra social investment, a portion of which has been spent on the following projects: the redevelopment of Borjomi Park; a project to modernize Georgia’s healthcare system; and a scholarship programme sending Georgians to study in the UK.
Tamam Bayatly at BP’s Press Office in Baku, telephone: 994 (0) 12 599 4557