At a length of 1,768km, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline is one of the great engineering endeavours of the new millennium.
It runs 443km through Azerbaijan, 249km through Georgia and 1,076km through Turkey to the Ceyhan Marine Terminal.
The pipeline is buried along its entire length. At its highest point where it crosses the Caucasus Mountains the pipeline climbs to an altitude of 2,800 metres. It has a capacity to export one million barrels of oil a day, designed to meet the export requirements of the full field development of the ACG field.
It is one of the longest pipelines in the world. Construction of the BTC pipeline in Georgia was completed in 2005. BTC became fully operational in 2006.
We undertook work in 2009 to expand the capacity of the BTC pipeline to 1.2 million barrels per day. Increased flowrates will be achieved by the injection of drag reducing agent, a chemical injection which eases the flow of oil. We completed the installation of injection apparatus, piping, pumps, storage tanks and tanker unloading stations at pump stations and other locations in 2009.
Construction of additional facilities providing environmental and technical security in the alpine Kodiana section of the pipeline also began in 2006. We made progress with the additional special project facilities linked to the BTC pipeline in the Kodiana section which were requested by the Georgian government. We completed construction of the security base, which is occupied by the government’s Strategic Pipelines Protection Department (SPPD).
We completed mechanical construction of the Emergency Drain Down Facility (the EDDF - an 8,500m3 steel tank constructed within a secondary underground concrete tank for the draining and storage of oil from the Kodiana section of the BTC pipeline in certain emergency situations).
The BTC pipeline facilities include eight pump stations (two in Azerbaijan, two in Georgia, four in Turkey); the Ceyhan Marine Terminal located on the Turkish Mediterranean Coast; two intermediate pigging stations; one pressure reduction station, and 101 small block valves.
The construction of the pipeline has been carried out by an integrated project team that has also led construction of the parallel South Caucasus Pipeline. At peak during the construction phase of the projects some 22,000 people were employed, 6,000 of whom were in Georgia. In Turkey, the BTC pipeline was constructed by BOTAS on BTC Co's behalf under a lump sum turnkey agreement.
Approximately 70% of BTC costs are being funded in the form of financing by third parties. The group providing loans, export credits and risk insurance to BTC comprises the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, export credit agencies of seven countries and a syndicate of 15 commercial banks. Finalization of the financing agreements came in February 2004 after more than two years of far-reaching monitoring and scrutiny of the project's environmental and social impact, as well as a thorough public consultation process. The participation of the lenders enhances transparency in the project, and gives them the opportunity to influence project implementation, and to help ensure the development potential from the projects is realized.
By creating the first direct pipeline link between the landlocked Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean, the BTC project will bring positive economic advantage to the region and avoid increasing oil traffic through the vulnerable Turkish Straits.