Azerbaijan, Georgia address security threats to BTC pipeline

By an OGJ correspondent

NICOSIA, Jan. 20 -- Concerns are rising over the security of the Baku-Tiblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline following reports from government officials in Azerbaijan and Georgia of increased threats to the project.

Azerbaijan's Defense Minister Safar Abiyev last week told British government officials that Armenia's "aggressive policy" posed an "actual threat" to security in the region, including the BTC pipeline.

Arms and hardware accumulated by Armenia pose a serious threat to the BTC pipeline that should be eliminated, Abyev told Britain's Ambassador Andrew Tucker and its military attaché, Christopher John Nunn.

Officials at the United Kingdom's Foreign & Commonwealth Office declined to comment on the report when contacted by OGJ.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been involved in a long-running military standoff over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Competing claims to Nagorno-Karabakh sparked a 5-year war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the early 1990s, which left about 30,000 dead and forced a million people to flee their homes.

The area is under de facto Armenian control, and its rulers are pressing for it to be recognized as an independent entity, but Azerbaijan insists Nagorno-Karabakh is part of its territory and wants it back.

In April 2002, Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliyev ordered the creation of a special state security service to protect the BTC pipeline, along with the existing Baku-Novorossiisk and Baku-Supsa pipelines and the massive Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) offshore oil field.

Baku-Supsa line damaged
Meanwhile, Giorgi Chanturia, president of the Georgian International Oil Corp. (GIOC), said on Sunday that the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline was deliberately damaged Jan. 18 in an effort to create obstacles for implementation of the 244 km sector of BTC pipeline project in his country.

"The only aim was to harm the operation of the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline project, which would have had consequences for the BTC oil pipeline," Chanturia told Georgian television.

"Our guess is that, after that, the investors would have been told that Georgia was incapable of dealing with security issues, (and) that the (BTC) oil pipeline would be damaged," he said.

The attack, which Chanturia said was the "second incident of this nature," took place in the village of Sveneti in the Gori District. Chanturian said only a small amount of oil was lost due to the quick response of pipeline technicians.

The attack could be seen as an embarrassment to Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, who announced on Jan. 14 that the Georgian Special Protection Service (GSPS) would guard Georgian sections of the BTC pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline.

Shevardnadze said GSPS protection of the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline had proven "efficient," and he was hoping that "it will be possible to attract additional resources from companies engaged in those projects and interested in their security."

Shevardnadze's statement coincided with a scheduled visit to Georgia by BP political advisor John Gerson concerning measures being undertaken to guarantee the security of the Georgian stretch of the BTC pipeline.

Gerson said the purpose of his visit was to become acquainted with the situation in Georgia and the steps being taken by authorities to guarantee security of the pipeline's construction and operation.

Gerson, who met with Georgian Minister of State Avtandil Dzhorbenadze and Security Council Secretary Tedo Dzhaparidze, said he had familiarized himself with the authorities' plan and that Georgia was doing everything possible to ensure the pipeline's security.

GIOC's Chanturia earlier announced that the protection would involve Georgian servicemen trained by US military instructors (OGJ Online, Jan. 7, 2003). He said the US would allocate $11 million to the project, in addition to a $64 million "Train and Equip" program already under way.

According to Chanturia, the training of the 400-man special pipeline protection battalion, which will coordinate with the GSPS, is due to begin in February.

Georgia also is involved in talks with Northrop Grumman of the US over electronic surveillance systems aimed at increasing security of the pipeline and its adjacent areas.

A NG spokesman told OGJ that officials of the firm's Baltimore-based Electronic Systems sector and GIOC signed an MOU in September 2001 to investigate "possible cooperation" on the development of technology-based security measures for the BTC pipeline.

"Discussions by both parties have been under way since that time and are continuing," the spokesman said, adding that "it would be premature to speculate as to which technological solutions may ultimately be agreed upon."

US, Japan visits slated
The alleged attack on the Baku-Supsa pipeline also coincided with plans for the departure of Georgian Security Minister Valeri Khaburdzania on a 9-day visit to Japan and the US for discussions with security officials over cooperation on anti-terrorism measures.

Khaburdzania said he would meet with FBI Director Robert S. Mueller to discuss the issue of technical assistance to Georgia's Security Ministry, while he expected to discuss BTC pipeline security with Japanese colleagues.

Khaburdzania told local media that several Japanese nationals have been arrested in Georgia, one of whom is suspected of links with terrorist organizations and has been handed over to the Japanese.

Shared responsibilities
Under terms of the BTC agreement, individual firms are responsible for the operational integrity of the pipeline, while host government agreements for Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey commit the governments to a number of open-ended expenditures.

These include the full costs of ensuring security for the pipeline and the costs of compensating the BTC consortium for any losses incurred as a result of the introduction of new social and environmental laws over the next 40 years.

Work on the 1800 km BTC pipeline is scheduled to start this spring, with completion set for the beginning of 2005. When complete, the pipeline is expected to carry 1 million b/d of crude oil from Baku to Ceyhan via Tbilisi.

Participants in the BTC project are: Operator BP Group LLC 30.1%, State Oil Co. of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) 25%, Unocal Corp. 8.9%, Statoil ASA 8.71%, Turkish Oil Corp., i.e., Turkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortakligi (TPAO) 6.53%, ENI SPA 5%, TotalFinaElf 5%, Japan's Itochu Corp. 3.4%, ConocoPhillips 2.5%, Tokyo-based Inpex Corp.2.5%, and Amerada Hess Corp. 2.36%.

Related Articles

ConocoPhillips slashes 2015 capital budget

12/08/2014 ConocoPhillips has elected to reduce its 2015 capital budget to $13.5 billion, down 20% compared with this year’s budget. The news comes on the hee...

BLM issues final SEIS for Greater Mooses Tooth project in NPR-A

10/30/2014 The US Bureau of Land Management released its final supplemental environmental impact statement for the proposed Greater Mooses Tooth (GMT1) oil an...

Western gulf lease sale attracts $110 million in high bids

08/20/2014 Gulf of Mexico western planning area Lease Sale 238 drew 93 bids from 14 companies over 81 blocks covering 433,823 acres, totaling $109,951,644 in ...

ConocoPhillips, Enap sign deal to study unconventional oil, gas in Chile

08/06/2014 ConocoPhillips and Chile’s state oil company Empresa Nacional del Petroleo (Enap) have signed a technical agreement to jointly conduct geological, ...

Oando completes purchase of Nigeria assets from ConocoPhillips

07/30/2014 Oando Energy Resources (OER), a Calgary-based subsidiary of Oando PLC, has completed its acquisition of the Nigeria upstream business of ConocoPhil...

ConocoPhillips, Suncor join Shell in deepwater exploration off Nova Scotia

06/11/2014

ConocoPhillips and Suncor Energy Inc. are joining Shell Canada as partners in exploring the deepwater Shelburne basin off Nova Scotia.

ConocoPhillips raises estimates on Eagle Ford recoverable resources, production

04/11/2014 ConocoPhillips has increased its estimated resource base in the Eagle Ford play to 2.5 billion bbl of oil in place from 1.8 billion bbl, as well as...

ConocoPhillips reports higher 2013 earnings

02/10/2014 ConocoPhillips reported full-year earnings of $9.2 billion in 2013, an increase from the $8.4 billion totaled in 2012, which included $1.2 billion ...

ConocoPhillips reports higher 2013 earnings, expects higher production in 2014

01/31/2014 ConocoPhillips reported full-year earnings of $9.2 billion in 2013, an increase from the $8.4 billion totaled in 2012, which included $1.2 billion ...

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected