Deal on Baku line

November 22, 1999, 10:30 CET

An international agreement has opened the way for an oil pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan to Ceyhan on Turkey's Mediterranean coast.

Signed on 18 November by the Turkish, Azeri and Georgian governments, this deal could remove a transport bottleneck for developing fields in the Caspian. Existing pipelines have insufficient capacity.

Government representatives from Azerbaijan and international oil companies have been negotiating over the past two years to secure the rights to construct a main export line.

"We regard the present agreement as a positive step," says Tor Ivar Pedersen, Statoil's manager in Azerbaijan. "It opens the way to a final solution for oil transport from the Caspian."

He adds that Statoil's share of the overall investment will be around NOK 20 billion over the next 10 years.

The Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) consortium, in which Statoil has an 8.56 per cent interest, currently produces 115,000 barrels per day. This is expected to reach 800,000 barrels per day in 2007.