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First Caspian oil lifted in the Mediterranean

June 6, 2006, 12:30 CEST

The British Hawthorn tanker recently left Ceyhan in Turkey with the first cargo of Caspian oil from the BP-operated Baku Tbilisi Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, where Statoil has an 8.71% interest.

The 1768-kilometre pipeline runs from Baku in Azerbaijan, via Tbilisi in Georgia, to the Turkish city of Ceyhan at the Mediterranean.

The event marked the start of oil exports from Azerbaijan through BTC, bypassing the narrow Bosporos Strait in Turkey on the way to world markets.

The pipeline transports oil from the BP-operated field Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) in the Caspian Sea. Statoil, a member of the international partnership developing ACG, has an interest of 8.56%.

The first export from ACG is the culmination of many years of work by many thousands of people from Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, according to David Woodward, BP’s associate president in Azerbaijan. He adds that this is a world class project and that everyone can be very proud of what they have achieved together.

The production target for 2006 being half a million barrels per day, production will be escalated to one million barrels per day by 2008.

By transporting all of this oil by pipeline instead of by tankers through Bosporos, a great risk of oil spill will be avoided. In addition the pipeline with strengthen the economic and political ties between the involved countries, according to Mr Woodward.

”The filling of the BTC pipeline from the terminal started in 2005. It took about one year to fill 10 million barrels and prepare for transportation,” says John Høines, Statoils BTC project manager.

The official opening of the Turkish part of the 1070-kilometre pipeline is scheduled for July in Ceyhan and Istanbul.

The operator BP has a 30.1% interest in BTC. The other licensees besides Statoil are AzBTC (the state) (25.00), Chevron (8.90), TPAO (Turkish Petroleum) (6.53), ENI (5.00), Total (5.00), Itochu (3.40), INPEX (2.50), ConocoPhillips (2.50) and Amerada Hess (2.36).