BAKU-TBILISI-CEYHAN OIL PIPELINE NAMED AFTER HEYDAR ALIYEV

The transportation of oil to the global markets is one of the major trends of Heydar Aliyev's oil strategy. Great work was carried out for the implementation of the strategically important Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline project to ensure the transportation of oil to the global markets due to the protection of the national interests of Azerbaijan, the development of large-scale international economic cooperation and the increase of oil production in the country and the talks had a successful result. First the exact idea of the establishment of the main oil pipeline was determined at the Trabzon meeting of the presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey on April 26, 1998. The three Presidents announced openly that Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan must the head export pipeline thus declaring the political decision on the implementation of the project. The first agreement on the said project was reached by the signing of the Ankara declaration supporting the establishment of the head export pipeline with the route Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan by the Presidents of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and US Energy Minister in Ankara on October 29, 1998.

As the result of all that a contract on the transportation of crude oil by Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline via Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey was signed during the OSCE summit at Chyraghan Palace of Istanbul November 18, 1999. It was signed by H. Aliyev, E. Shevarnadze and S. Demirel. The Istanbul Declaration was signed between Azerbaijan (Heydar Aliyev), Turkey S. Demirel), Georgia (E. Shevarnadze), Kazakhstan (Nursultan Nazarbayev) and Turkmenistan (S. Niyazov) under the witness of the USA (B. Clinton) to support the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and to attract Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to the project. The construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline was initiated on the Sangachal terminal on September 18, 2002 as the logical continuation of this process. The ceremony was attended by three President-President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev, President of Georgia E. Shevarnadze and President of Turkey A. N. Sezer and US representatives for the Caspian issues S. Mann.

Thus, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, the major achievement of the new oil strategy worked out by national leader Heydar Aliyev, was on the point of coming into life.

The Azeri section of the BTC pipeline joined Georgian one in October of 2004. It should be mentioned that the pipeline extends to 1769 kilometers (with 443 kilometers in Azerbaijan, 248 kilometers in Georgia and 1067 kilometers in Turkey), it is 1070 mm in diameter. The pipeline has the annual capacity of 50 million tons with the total cost of USD 2.95 billion. The project comprises the following shareholders: BP (30.1%), SOCAR (25%), UNOCAL (8.9%), Staoil (8.71%), TRAO (6.53%), ENI (5%), TotalFinaElf (5%), Itochu (3.4%), Inpex (2.5%), ConocoPhillips (2.5%) and Amerada Hess (2.36%).

In the future BTC will not only promote the access of Azeri oil to the global markets but will turn to the major pipeline of the Silk Road and Turkic countries.

The selection of the direction of the pipeline was the result of the great policy of Heydar Aliyev and the pipeline will join the oil pipelines system as the artery of the world.

The future prospects of oil production in Azerbaijan are connected with the program of the full-scale development of two more fields included into the Contract of the Century. The Central Azeri oil was produced within the first stage of the program in 2005.

The project of the third phase is the last stage in the full-scale development of the Azeri-Chyrag-Guneshli fields. Therefore it was planned to conduct the joint development of the deep water Guneshli field and western Chyrag, to establish two platforms (drilling and technological works) and at the same time to drill 24 wells in the drilling platforms.

The great Shahdeniz gas condensate field was discovered in 1999 as the result of the successful conduction of the new oil strategy, the high level of investments in the oil industry and the application of modern technique and technology in the oil operations. The Shahdeniz field and BTC pipeline projects comprise SOCAR (Azerbaijan)-10%, Statoil (Norway)-25.5%, BP (Great Brotain), TotalFinaElf (France)-10%, LukAcip (Russia Italy)-10%), OLIK (Iran)-10%, TPAO (Turkey)-9%. The discovery of the Shahdeniz gas field created conditions for the development of gas industry in Azerbaijan and transformation of the country into one exporting gas along with oil in the 21st century. During the official visit of the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to Turkey , Azerbaijan and Turkey signed a contract on the sales and purchase of the natural gas of Azerbaijan on March 12, 2001. Azerbaijan and Georgia signed a contract on the transit, sales and transportation of natural gas via Georgia was signed on September 29 of 2001.

This head oil pipeline has an important technical, economic and political role. Thus, it will promote the establishment of the new relations of Azerbaijan, the reestablishment of relations of the Azerbaijani people and will cause the strengthening and development of the foreign policy of Azerbaijan.

At present time construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export pipeline named after Heydar Aliyev came to an end and it is being filled with oil. It is solemnity of new oil strategy of Azerbaijan started with signing of "Contract of century" on September 20, 1994 and worked out under leadership of great leader Heydar Aliyev. Azerbaijani people, foreign guests partaking in the project were waiting for this eminent day for more than 10 years. Lastly, that day has come, legend of three seas has already been realized, big oil of Azerbaijan goes to world market.

10 million barrel crude oil is required for filling 1770-km line, which begins from Sangachal terminal near Baku, reaches Ceyhan terminal of Turkey in coast of Mediterranean Sea by passing through Georgia, with "black gold". This oil will be produced from "Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli" wells in Azerbaijan sector of Caspian. More than 6 months are required to fill the pipeline in stages along the entire route and loading the first tanker with oil in Ceyhan is planned for fourth quarter of 2005.

A solemn ceremony to mark the opening of the Azerbaijan section of the Heydar Aliyev Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Main Export Pipeline has taken place today in Sangachal oil terminal near Baku.

Present at the Heydar Aliyev BTC pipeline's opening ceremony were Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, Ahmet Necdet Sezer of Turkey, Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia, Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, as well as US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, BP's group chief executive, Lord John Browne and other high-ranking officials from France, Ukraine, Japan, Norway and other countries.

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