First supertanker loaded from BTC

February 16, 2007, 12:00 CET

Statoil is marketing the first oil to be exported by very large crude carrier (VLCC) from the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Oil from the Caspian Sea is transported through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, in which the group holds an interest.


When the Astro Challenge set sail on Friday 16 February, it was the first time that a VLCC departed from the Ceyhan terminal on the Mediterranean.

A VLCC is able to load up to two million barrels of oil. The oil stream through the BTC line is now flowing at such a rate that these carriers can be loaded in Ceyhan.

“Loading of such large tankers gives us significant economies of scale, especially when we transport over long distances,” says Mark Tattersdill, trader at Statoil’s sales office for crude oil in London.

Astro Challenge is now on its way round Africa en route to the Asian market. Mr Tattersdill emphasises that consignments of this size make it easier to satisfy the customer’s wishes with regard to speedy delivery, which also provides market gains.

BTC supplies the terminal in the Mediterranean city of Ceyhan with oil from the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) field in the Azeri sector of the Caspian. The 1,768-kilometre pipeline was officially opened on 13 July 2006.

During February the transported volume through BTC has reached 600,000 barrels per day. By the end of 2008 this will have increased to one million barrels.

ACG oil is a light crude with a low-sulphur content. Statoil has an 8.56% interest in the international consortium that produces this oil, and an 8.71% stake in BTC. BP is operator for both ACG and BTC.