BTC lifts 500th tanker at Ceyhan
The BP-operated Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil export pipeline (BTC) lifted at the weekend the 500th cargo of oil transported from the Sangachal terminal near Baku across Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to Ceyhan.
The 500th tanker – the St Helen, arrived at the Turkish Mediterranean port on Saturday morning and departed on the same day, June 14. The tanker took on board 630,000 barrels of crude oil belonging to Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR. The oil, which comes from the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea, was destined for Trieste, Italy.
BP Azerbaijan said that since the start up of BTC export operations in 2006, the pipeline has demonstrated excellent safety performance. The pipeline’s throughput has steadily increased with the highest daily flow-rate to date being 949,393 barrels on 11 May. In addition, May 2008 marked another record for BTC with 37 tankers loaded at Ceyhan during the month with a total volume of 29 million barrels of crude oil.
The total volume of oil and condensate exported via BTC to date is about 397 million barrels (over 53 million tons).
The current export rate via BTC is about 850,000 barrels per day and the pipeline is expected to achieve one million barrels per day (some 50 million tons per year) later this year.
“This is a remarkable milestone that winds up two years of steady and efficient operations of BTC. All credit for achieving the 500th tanker-lifting should go to the many hundreds of people who across the three countries day and night run the pipeline and provide services so that all BTC facilities can operate in a silent manner. Congratulations to all BTC operations staff from Baku to Ceyhan who have made this great success possible,” says Rashid Javanshir, BTC’s Chief Executive and BP’s Onshore Operations Vice-President.
Work is currently underway to increase the capacity of the pipeline by up to 20% to 1.2 million barrels per day. It is expected that the pipeline expansion, which is planned to complete by December, will enhance transportation assurance for hydrocarbons extracted from the ACG field and the gas-condensate field Shahdaniz to reach markets in the near term and additional capacity in the longer term.
BTC relieves the oil related traffic and associated environmental risks, while creating substantial revenues for the transit countries, and helps strengthen economic and political links between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and the West, BP Azerbaijan said.
The 1768km pipeline allows one million barrels of oil a day to be exported from the Caspian without increasing tanker traffic through the already crowded Turkish Straits.
The BTC Co. shareholders are: BP (30.1%, operator); AzBTC (25%); Chevron (8.9%); StatoilHydro (8.71%); TPAO (6.53%); ENI (5%); Total (5%), Itochu (3.4%); INPEX (2.5%), ConocoPhillips (2.5%) and Hess (2.36%).*