Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline is a 1,768 kilometres
(1,099 mi) long crude oil pipeline from the
Azeri–Chirag–Gunashli oil field in the
Caspian Sea to the
Mediterranean Sea. It connects Baku, the capital of
Ceyhan, a port on the south-eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey, via
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. It is the second-longest oil pipeline
in the former Soviet Union, after the Druzhba pipeline. The first oil
that was pumped from the
Baku end of the pipeline reached
Ceyhan on 28
2.2 Technical features
2.3 Cost and financing
2.4 Source of supply
2.5 Possible transhipment via Israel
5 Controversial aspects
5.5 Human rights
6 In fiction
7 See also
10 External links
Caspian Sea lies above one of the world's largest collections of
oil and gas fields. As the sea is landlocked, transporting oil to
Western markets is complicated. During Soviet times, all
transportation routes from the Caspian region were through Russia. The
collapse of the Soviet Union inspired a search for new routes. Russia
first insisted that the new pipeline should pass through its
territory, then declined to participate.
In the spring of 1992, the Turkish Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel
proposed to Central Asian countries including
Azerbaijan that the
pipeline run through Turkey. The first document on the construction of
Ceyhan pipeline was signed between
Turkey on 9 March 1993 in Ankara. The Turkish route meant a
Azerbaijan would run through Georgia or Armenia, but the
Armenia was politically impossible due to the unresolved
Azerbaijan over the status of
Nagorno-Karabakh. This left the circuitous Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey
route, longer and more expensive to build than the other option.
The project gained momentum following the
Ankara Declaration, adopted
on 29 October 1998 by President of
Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev, President
of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan
Nazarbayev, President of
Turkey Süleyman Demirel, and President of
Uzbekistan Islam Karimov. The declaration was witnessed by the United
States Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson, who expressed strong
support for the pipeline. The intergovernmental agreement in support
of the pipeline was signed by Azerbaijan, Georgia, and
Turkey on 18
November 1999, during a meeting of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Istanbul, Turkey.
Ceyhan Pipeline Company (BTC Co.) was established in
London on 1 August 2002. The ceremony launching construction of the
pipeline was held on 18 September 2002. Construction began in April
2003 and was completed in 2005. The
Azerbaijan section was constructed
by Consolidated Contractors International of Greece, and Georgia's
section was constructed by a joint venture of France’s Spie Capag
and UK Petrofac International. The Turkish section was constructed by
Petroleum Pipeline Corporation.
Bechtel was the main contractor
for engineering, procurement and construction.
On 25 May 2005, the pipeline was inaugurated at the Sangachal Terminal
Ilham Aliyev of the
Azerbaijan Republic, President
Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia and President
Ahmet Sezer of Turkey,
joined by President
Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan and United
States Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman. The inauguration of
the Georgian section was hosted by President Mikheil Saakashvili at
the pumping station near
Gardabani on 12 October 2005. The
inauguration ceremony at
Ceyhan terminal was held on 13 July
The pipeline was gradually filled with 10 million barrels of oil
Baku and reaching
Ceyhan on 28 May 2006. The first oil
was loaded at the
Ceyhan Marine Terminal (Haydar
Aliyev Terminal) onto
a tanker named British Hawthorn. The tanker sailed on 4 June 2006
with about 600,000 barrels (95,000 m3) of crude oil.
Petroleum pipelines to Europe
The 1,768 kilometres (1,099 mi) long pipeline starts at the
Sangachal Terminal near
Baku in Azerbaijan, crosses Georgia and
terminates at the
Ceyhan Marine Terminal (Haydar
Aliyev Terminal) on
the south-eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. 443 kilometres
(275 mi) of the pipeline lie in Azerbaijan, 249 kilometres
(155 mi) in Georgia and 1,076 kilometres (669 mi) in Turkey.
It crosses several mountain ranges at altitudes to 2,830 metres
(9,300 ft). It also traverses 3,000 roads, railways, and
utility lines—both overground and underground—and
1,500 watercourses up to 500 metres (1,600 ft) wide (in the
case of the
Ceyhan River in Turkey). The pipeline occupies a
corridor eight meters wide, and is buried to a depth of at least one
meter. The pipeline runs parallel to the
South Caucasus Gas
Pipeline, which transports natural gas from the
Sangachal Terminal to
Erzurum in Turkey. From
Sarız to Ceyhan, the Samsun–
pipeline will be parallel to the BTC pipeline.
The pipeline has a projected lifespan of 40 years, and at normal
capacity it transports 1 million barrels per day
(160×10^3 m3/d). It needs 10 million barrels (1.6×10^6 m3)
of oil to fill the pipeline. Oil flows at 2 metres (6.6 ft)
per second. There are eight pump stations, two in Azerbaijan, two
in Georgia, four in Turkey. The project includes also the Ceyhan
Marine Terminal (officially the Haydar
Aliyev Terminal, named after
the Azerbaijani late president Heydar Aliyev), three intermediate
pigging stations, one pressure reduction station, and 101 small
block valves. It was constructed from 150,000 individual
joints of line pipe, each measuring 12 metres (39 ft) in
length. This corresponds to a total weight of 655,000 short tons
(594,000 t). The pipeline is 1,070 millimetres (42 in)
diameter for most of its length, narrowing to 865 millimetres
(34.1 in) diameter as it nears Ceyhan.
Cost and financing
The pipeline cost US$3.9 billion. The construction created
10,000 short-term jobs and the operation of the pipeline requires
1,000 long-term employees across a 40-year period. 70% of the
costs are funded by third parties, including the World Bank's
International Finance Corporation, the European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development, export credit agencies of seven
countries and a syndicate of 15 commercial banks.
Source of supply
The pipeline is supplied by oil from Azerbaijan's
Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field in the
Caspian Sea via the Sangachal
Terminal. This pipeline may also transport oil from Kazakhstan's
Kashagan oil field and other oil fields in Central Asia. The
government of Kazakhstan announced that it would build a trans-Caspian
oil pipeline from the Kazakhstani port of
Aktau to Baku, but because
of the opposition from both Russia and
Iran it started to transport
oil to the BTC pipeline by tankers across the Caspian Sea. Not
only Kazakh, but also Turkmen oil have transported via
Ceyhan pipeline].Thus, in 2015, 5,2 million Kazakh and
Turkmen oil were transported via this pipeline to the world
Possible transhipment via Israel
It has been proposed that oil from the pipeline be transported to
Asia via the Israeli oil terminals at
Ashkelon and Eilat, the
overland trans-Israel sector being bridged by the Trans-Israel
pipeline owned by the
Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC).
The pipeline is owned and operated by BTC Co, a consortium of
11 energy companies. The consortium is managed by BP.
BP (United Kingdom): 30.1%
State Oil Company of
Azerbaijan (SOCAR) (Azerbaijan): 25.00%
Chevron (United States): 8.90%
Statoil (Norway): 8.71%
Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklığı
Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklığı (TPAO) (Turkey): 6.53%
Eni (Italy): 5.00%
Total (France): 5.00%
Itochu (Japan): 3.40%
Inpex (Japan): 2.50%
ExxonMobil (USA): 2.50%
ONGC Videsh (India) 2.36%
Azerbaijani, Georgian, Turkish, British, and American archaeologists
began archaeological surveys 2000, sponsored by BP. Several cultural
artifacts were uncovered during the construction, resulting in a
coordinated research of the archaeological sites such as Dashbulaq,
Hasansu, Zayamchai, and Tovuzchai in Azerbaijan; Klde, Orchosani, and
Saphar-Kharaba in Georgia; and Güllüdere, Yüceören, and
Ziyaretsuyu in Turkey.
Even before its completion, the pipeline was having an effect on the
world's petroleum politics. The South Caucasus, previously seen as
Russia's backyard, is now a region of great strategic significance.
The U.S. and other Western nations have become much more involved in
the affairs of the three nations through which oil will flow. The
countries have been trying to use the involvement as a counterbalance
to Russian and Iranian economic and military dominance in the
region. Russian specialists claim that the pipeline will
weaken the Russian influence in the Caucasus. The Russian Parliament
Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Konstantin Kosachev (ru)
stated that the United States and other Western countries are planning
to station soldiers in the Caucasus on the pretext of instability in
regions through which the pipeline passes.
The project has been criticised due to bypassing and regional
isolation of Armenia, as well as for human rights and safety
concerns. Ilham Aliev, the president of Azerbaijan, which is in
conflict with Armenia, was cited as saying, "If we succeed with this
project, the Armenians will end in complete isolation, which would
create an additional problem for their future, their already bleak
The project also constitutes an important leg of the East–West
energy corridor, gaining
Turkey greater geopolitical importance. The
pipeline supports Georgia's independence from Russian influence.
Former President Eduard Shevardnadze, one of the architects and
initiators of the project, saw construction through Georgia as a
guarantee for the country's future economic and political security and
Mikhail Saakashvili shares this view. "All
strategic contracts in Georgia, especially the contract for the
Caspian pipeline are a matter of survival for the Georgian state," he
told reporters on 26 November 2003.
Although some have touted the pipeline as easing the dependence of the
US and other Western nations on oil from the Middle East, it supplies
only 1% of global demand during its first stage.
The pipeline diversifies the global oil supply and so insures, to an
extent, against a failure in supply elsewhere. Critics of the
pipeline—particularly Russia—are skeptical about its economic
Construction of the pipeline has contributed to the economies of the
host countries. In the first half of 2007, a year after the launch of
the pipeline as the main export route for Azerbaijani oil, the real
GDP growth of
Azerbaijan hit a record of 35%. Substantial transit
fees accrue to Georgia and Turkey. For Georgia, the transit fees are
expected to produce an average of US$62.5 million per year. Turkey
is expected to receive approximately US$200 million in transit fees
per year in the initial years of operation, with the possibility that
the fees increase to US$290 million per year from year 17 to year 40.
Turkey also benefits from an increase of commerce in the port of
Ceyhan and other parts of eastern Anatolia, the region which had
experienced significant decrease in economic activities since the Gulf
War in 1991. The reduction of oil tanker traffic on the Bosphorus
will contribute to greater security for Istanbul.
To counter concerns that oil money would be siphoned off by corrupt
Azerbaijan set up a state oil fund (SOFAZ), mandated with
using revenue from natural resources to benefit future generations,
bolster support from key international lenders, and improve
transparency and accountability.
Azerbaijan became the first
oil-producing country to join EITI, the British-led Extractive
Industries Transparency Initiative.
Concerns have been addressed about the security of the
pipeline. It bypasses Armenia, which has an unresolved
Azerbaijan over the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, crosses
through Georgia, which has two unresolved separatist conflicts, and
goes through the edges of the Kurdish region of Turkey, which has seen
a prolonged and bitter conflict with Kurdish separatists. It will
require constant guarding to prevent sabotage, though the fact that
almost all of the pipeline is buried will make it harder to
attack. Georgia formed a special purpose battalion that would
guard the pipeline while the US watched over the area with Unmanned
Arial Vehicles (UAVs).
On 5 August 2008, a major explosion and fire in
Turkey Erzincan Province) closed the pipeline. The Kurdistan Workers
Party (PKK) claimed responsibility. The pipeline was restarted on
25 August 2008.
There is circumstantial evidence that it was instead a sophisticated
cyber attack on the line's control and safety systems that led to
increased pressure and an explosion. The attack might have been
related to the Russo-Georgian War, which started two days later.
However, the cyber attack theory has been largely criticized due to a
lack of evidence, and was publicly debunked by ICS cyber security
expert Robert M. Lee.
In September 2015, unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh’s defense minister,
Levon Mnatsakanyan, was cited as saying: "This is a very serious
financial resource for
Azerbaijan and we need to deprive them of these
Critics of the pipeline have pointed out it should be properly
earthquake engineered because it travels through three active faults
in Azerbaijan, four in Georgia and seven in Turkey. Environmental
activists fiercely opposed the crossing of the watershed of the
Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park in Georgia, an area known for mineral
water springs and natural beauty, although the pipeline itself does
not enter the park. The construction of the pipeline left a highly
visible scar across the landscape. The Oxford-based "
Campaign" stated that "public money should not be used to subsidize
social and environmental problems, purely in the interests of the
private sector, but must be conditional on a positive contribution to
the economic and social development of people in the region." As
Borjomi mineral water is a major export commodity of Georgia, any oil
spills there would have a catastrophic effect on the economy.
The field joint coating of the pipeline has been controversial over
the claim that SPC 2888, the sealant used, was not properly
tested. BP and its contractors interrupted work until the
problem was eliminated.
The pipeline eliminates 350 tanker cargoes per year through the
Bosphorus and Dardanelles.
Human rights activists criticized Western governments for the
pipeline, due to reported human and civil rights abuses by the Aliyev
regime in Azerbaijan. A Czech documentary film
underscores these human rights abuses, such as eminent domain
violations in appropriating land for the pipeline's route, and
criticism of the government leading to arrest.
The pipeline was a central plot point in the
James Bond film The World
Is Not Enough (1999). One of the central characters, Elektra King, is
responsible for the construction of an oil pipeline through the
Caucasus, from the
Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.
Named the "King pipeline" in the film, it is a thinly disguised
version of the BTC.
Georgia (country) portal
Wikinews has related news: First pipeline opens from Caspian Sea
Economy of Azerbaijan
Foreign relations of Azerbaijan
Foreign relations of Georgia
Foreign relations of Turkey
Geostrategy in Central Asia
Energy in Georgia (country)
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Applying Advanced Technology for Threat Assessment: A Case Study of
the BTC Pipeline
Fifty civil engineering feats in Turkey
Southeastern Anatolia Project
Ankara Railway Station
Mersin Halkevi Building
Anıtkabir (Atatürk’s Mausoleum)
Faculty of Arts and Sciences Building in İstanbul University
TBMM (Parliament Building)
AKM (Atatürk Cultural Center)
Middle East Technical University campus)
Ankara 19 Mayıs Stadium
İstanbul Abdi İpekçi Arena
İstanbul Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadium
İstanbul Galleria Shopping center
Kızılay Emek Business Center
İstanbul İş Bankası Towers
75th Anniversary Selatin Tunnel
15 July Martyrs Bridge
Antalya International Airport
Antalya International Airport (International services terminal)
Atatürk International Airport
Atatürk International Airport (International services
Keban Dam and Hydroelectric Plant
Karakaya Dam and Hydroelectric Plant
Atatürk Dam and Hydroelectric plant
Oymapınar Dam and Hydroelectric plant
Şanlıurfa Irrigation Tunnels
Yeşilçay Drinking Water Plant
BTC (Baku-Tiflis-Ceyhan) pipeline and Yumurtalık terminal
Erdemir (Ereğli Iro