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Article Published In Vol.6 (Jan-Feb-2018)

Geopolitical dimensions to build the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Nabucco gas pipeline to Western Europe

Pages : 71-76, DOI:

Author : Dr. Mohamed Aziz Abdel-Hassan

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Baku-Tbilisi Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline carries oil from the Azeri-Chirag-Deepwater Gunashli (ACG) field and condensate from Shah Deniz across Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. It links Sangachal terminal on the shores of the Caspian Sea to Ceyhan marine terminal on the Turkish Mediterranean coast. In addition, crude oil from Turkmenistan continues to be transported via the pipeline. Starting in October 2013, we have also resumed transportation of some volumes of Tengiz crude oil from Kazakhstan through the BTC pipeline. The pipeline that became operational in June 2006 was built by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline company (BTC Co) operated by BP. The pipeline buried along its entire length is 1768km in total length: 443km in Azerbaijan, 249km in Georgia, and 1,076km in Turkey The Azerbaijan and Georgia sections of the pipeline are operated by BP on behalf of its shareholders in BTC Co. while the Turkish section is operated by BOTAS International Limited (BIL). The diameter of the pipeline is 42 inches throughout most of Azerbaijan and Turkey. In Georgia the pipeline diameter is 46 inches. The pipeline diameter reduces to 34-inches for the last downhill section to the Ceyhan Marine Terminal in Turkey. Throughput capacity-one million barrels per day from March 2006 to March 2009. Since March 2009 it has been expanded to 1.2 million barrels per day by using drag reducing agents (DRAs). The hypothesis of our research stems from the following questions Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and Nabucco gas pipeline “to Western Europe: Is it a re-engineering of drawing lines of power in the Caucasus or is it a step that could contribute to obstructing energy corridors between East and West? The Caucasus Energy Department begins in the oil-and-gas-rich countries of the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Azerbaijan, located to the west of the Caspian basin, is the source of any power lines emanating from the basin. In the north, Russia wants to be the only buyer from these sources, so that it can capture sales to Western markets. However, Azerbaijan has, to date, worked with the West and Turkey to build pipelines instead of working with Russia. “Turkey, which lies to the west, is shutting down the energy department as the last stop for pipelines. On the other hand, energy experts believe that the improvement of Turkish-Armenian relations should not be at the expense of the East-West energy corridor, in other words, cooperation with regard to pipelines extending from Azerbaijan to Turkey. This corridor is a critical strategic tool for Washington to reduce the Western dependence on oil and gas from the Middle East. Oil exports through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline amounted to 14.9 million tons in the first half of this year, up 2.8 percent from the same period in 2015, according to a report by Reuters. Oil exports through the pipeline, which passes through Georgia and Turkey, rose 1.5 percent in 2015 to 28.84 million tonnes. Azerbaijan exports oil through the pipeline from the oil fields of Shiraj and Jonsheli, operated by British company BP. Crude is also exported through Russia through the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline, through the Georgian territory by rail and through the Baku-Supsa pipeline. Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are also exporting oil via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. These rates are expected to rise during 2016/2017.

Keywords: The role of Turkey in the distribution of energy from the Middle East to Europe has increased Caspian Energy, Pipelines in Eurasia Energy Security Diplomacy Turkey’s Energy Policy, Export Routes
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