Start of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline Linefill

BTC Co, operated by BP, has started filling the BTC head pump station at the Sangachal terminal, marking the first linefill phase of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil export pipeline. This follows full completion of construction and commissioning of the head pump station. The first stage of linefill and operational testing is in anticipation of the celebration of first oil into the Heydar Aliyev BTC main export pipeline on May 25th.

A total of 10 million barrels of crude oil is required to fill the 1770 km long line running from the Sangachal Terminal near Baku via Georgia to the Ceyhan Terminal on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. The oil comes from the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea. The staged filling of the pipeline along its entire route could take over six months and the loading of the first tanker at Ceyhan is expected in the fourth quarter of 2005.

The BTC Co. shareholders are: BP (30.1%); SOCAR (25.00%); Unocal (8.90%); Statoil (8.71%); TPAO (6.53%); Eni (5.00%); Total (5.00%), Itochu (3.40%); INPEX (2.50%), ConocoPhillips (2.50%) and Amerada Hess (2.36%).

The 1770km BTC pipeline will allow one million barrels of oil a day to be exported safely and responsibly from the Caspian without increasing tanker traffic through the Turkish Straits. It is buried for its entire length and following construction land is being fully re-instated.

In addition, the project's community investment program (CIP) is up and running in all three countries. Overall BTC together with the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), being built to carry Shah Deniz gas from the Caspian to Georgia and Turkey, will spend some $30 million on community and environmental investment in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey during the construction phase. As we move into the operations phase, we are also developing a Regional Sustainable Development Program (RSDP), which will build upon the best practice of existing CIP projects as well as addressing some of the regional and national challenges posed by the development of large-scale oil and gas businesses.