KazMunaiGaz & SOCAR Postpone Pipeline Talks

A meeting between representatives from KazMunaiGaz and SOCAR to discuss the possibility of pumping Kazakh oil through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, planned for the first 10 days of July, has been postponed indefinitely, Kazakh Ambassador to Azerbaijan Andar Shukputov said.

He noted that the meeting has been postponed at the initiative of the Azerbaijani side. The reason for this is technical, and is connected with the summer holiday season. The diplomat noted that representatives from KazMunaiGaz are ready to come at any time, but the meeting will definitely not take place in July.

During the talks in Baku, the sides will discuss a draft intergovernmental agreement between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan and a transit agreement, which will set down the commercial terms for transporting Kazakh oil through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. According to estimates, Kazakhstan will be able to transport up to 20 million tons of oil per annum through the pipeline.

The future pipeline will stretch 1,767 kilometers (443 km through Azerbaijan, 248 km through Georgia and 1,076 km through Turkey) and will have a capacity of 50 million tons of oil per annum and will require 1.5 million tons of oil to fill it. The cost of the project is estimated at $2.95 billion. It is planned to complete construction work in the fourth quarter 2004 and to start exporting Azerbaijani oil from the port of Ceyhan in May 2005.

Participants in the BTC project are: BP (30.1%), SOCAR (25%), Unocal (8.9%), Statoil (8.71%), TPAO (6.53%), ENI (5%), Itochu (3.4%), ConocoPhillips (2.5%), Inpex (2.5%), TotalFinaElf (5%), and Amerada Hess (2.36%).