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Turkey: Oil to flow in Baku-Ceyhan pipeline by mid 2005

The end is in sight for the Baku-Tbilisi- Ceyhan (BTC) Crude Oil Pipeline Project designed to transfer Caucasian oils to the global market.

Nearly 89 percent of the Turkish leg of the project, the largest part of the line, had been completed and now 90 percent of the total project is complete. The Energy Ministry determined that the first oil will flow to Ceyhan terminal in the first half of 2005. BTC company officials are planning to transfer oil from Ceyhan to the global market as early as June of 2005.

Some people, especially Georgian environmentalists, have claimed that the flow through Ceyhan terminal may be postponed due to incidents in transferring countries. The total cost of the pipeline project passing through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey is $3.6 billion. 1,076 of the 1,776 kilometers of pipeline are in Turkey, 260 kilometers are in Georgia, and the remaining are in Azerbaijan.

According to Azerbaijan International Operation Company authorities, the International Finance Association and the Europe Construction and Development Bank provided funding for the project. The projects foundations were settled in 1994 and construction in Azerbaijan started in September of 2002.

The administration period of the pipeline, which has the capacity to carry 50-million tons of crude oil per year, is 40 years, but this period can be extended twice for 10 years periods according to the will of the participants. Turkey aims to gain $300 million in rent income annually for the line, which has a daily capacity of $1 million.

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