First Pipe for BTC Arrived in Baku

BP reports that the first joints of pipe for the construction of the BTC Pipeline have been delivered to Baku from Poti port on the Georgian Black Sea. The first shipment of 240 joints of pipe was brought by railway from Poti by the German company KUHNE & NAGLE, which is a freight-forwarding subcontractor for the Azerbaijan section of the pipeline.

This first shipment of the pipe was brought to Poti on the 14th of January by the M.V. Caledonia, a ship owned by the British freight transportation company Bertling. The pipe is 42" in diameter and was produced in Japan by Sumitomo. The pipe coating was carried out in Malaysia.

The pipe joints will be stored in the Umbaki pipe yard near Sangachal from where they will be transferred to the Right of Way in early spring of this year when physical construction activities are planned to commence. Approximately 39,000 joints of pipe will be needed for the Azerbaijan section of BTC which is 460 kilometers long. Transportation of pipe shipments will take about seven months. Each ship carries 25-30 km of pipe.

Michael Townshend, BTC Co Chief Executive Officer, says, "The arrival of the first joints of pipe in Baku is a major step toward commencement of the physical construction works of this major regional export pipeline. We are proud to be able to announce that the work is progressing on schedule and this will enable us to lay the first pipe into the ground in time to meet our commitment to BTC Partners and the people of Azerbaijan."

The BTC Co. shareholders are: BP as operator (30.1%); SOCAR (25.00%); Unocal (8.90%); Statoil (8.71%); TPAO (6.53%); Eni (5.00%); TotalFinaElf (5.00%), Itochu (3.40%); INPEX (2.50%), ConocoPhillips(2.50%) and Amerada Hess (2.36%). The project remains on schedule to be completed in time for first oil from the Azeri Development Project of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oil field which is planned for early 2005.