ABB awarded IT systems on Azerbaijan-Turkey oil pipeline

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Dec. 13 -- Zurich-based power and automation technology group ABB received a $34 million contract to supply control and safety systems for the proposed 1,760 km Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline that will carry Caspian Sea region crude oil from Azerbaijan to Turkey's Mediterranean Sea coast for export. BP PLC is operator for the $2.9 billion BTC Pipeline Co. project.

Under terms of the contract, ABB will supply, install, and commission integrated control and safety systems to provide operational control, emergency shutdown options, and fire and gas monitoring of the pipeline, a marine terminal, and two offshore production platforms.

The work also includes remote-controlled subsystems to isolate sections of the pipeline for regular inspection and maintenance.

The systems are based on ABB's industrial technology that links products and services with the information needed to run, service, and maintain them, enabling BTC Pipeline Co. to control operations at both ends of the pipeline.

"A cross-border technology solution is needed to make sure this extremely complex pipeline runs efficiently," said Dinesh Paliwal, head of ABB's automation technologies division. "Our industrial IT platform?handles both process and safety control in one system, rather than with separate systems as is done traditionally. This is important to ensure pipeline efficiency, as well as environmental and personal safety."

Construction of the pipeline is slated to start next year with completion expected in 2005. Greece's Consolidated Contractors International Co. will handle pipelaying in Azerbaijan, while a joint venture of France's Spie-Capag SA and Petrofac Ltd., London, will handle pipelaying in Georgia and related facilities work in both Azerbaijan and Georgia (OGJ Online, Aug. 14, 2002).

US-based Bechtel Group is the project's engineering, procurement, and construction management services contractor, and BOTAS, Turkey's state pipeline contractor, is turnkey contractor for the Turkish section of the pipeline.

When commissioned, the pipeline is expected to carry 1 million b/d from Sangachel on Azerbaijan's Caspian coast, through Georgia to a new marine terminal at Ceyhan on Turkey's southern Mediterranean coast.

It will be linked over its entire length by a fiber optic telecommunications system, ABB said. Associated field instrumentation includes transmitters and ultrasonic flow metering for the terminal, valves, and pumping stations.

Pipeline operator BP holds a 38.21% interest in BTC Pipeline Co., with other interests held by State Oil Co. of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) 25%, Statoil ASA 9.58%, Unocal Corp. 8.9%, Turkish state oil company TPAO 7.55%, ENI SPA 5%, Japan's Itochu Corp. 3.4%, and Amerada Hess Corp. 2.36%. TotalFinaElf SA also acquired the right to purchase a 5% stake.

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