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

Alaska LNG project partners file resource reports with FERC

02/12/2015 A series of draft environmental and socioeconomic reports for the Alaska LNG project have been submitted to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commis...

Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips join to explore, appraise gulf leases

02/09/2015 Chevron Corp. subsidiary Chevron USA Inc., BP PLC unit BP Exploration & Production Inc., and ConocoPhillips Co. have pledged to work together t...

ConocoPhillips revises down $2 billion from budget

01/29/2015 ConocoPhillips has shed an additional $2 billion from its capital expenditures for 2015, decreasing total spending to $11.5 billion from the previo...

Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips join to explore, appraise Gulf of Mexico leases

01/28/2015 Chevron Corp. subsidiary Chevron USA Inc., BP PLC unit BP Exploration & Production Inc., and ConocoPhillips Co. have pledged to work together t...

Conoco's Lance calls for repeal of US crude oil export ban

01/26/2015 The US crude export ban that was imposed in 1975 should be repealed 40 years later to ensure the US oil and gas renaissance continues, ConocoPhilli...

For the US economy, a falling oil price has drawbacks, too

01/05/2015

Cheer in the US about an economic lift from falling oil prices needs qualification.

ConocoPhillips slashes 2015 capital budget

12/22/2014 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...

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...
White Papers

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...

Accurate Thermo-Fluid Simulation in Real Time Environments

The crux of any task undertaken in System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis is striking a balance between ti...

6 ways for Energy, Chemical and Oil and Gas Companies to Avert the Impending Workforce Crisis

As many as half of the skilled workers in energy, chemical and oil & gas industries are quickly he...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

On Demand

Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


The Future of US Refining

Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Oil & Gas Journal’s Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015

Fri, Jan 30, 2015

The  Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015 Webcast will address Oil & Gas Journal’s outlooks for the oil market and pipeline construction in a year of turbulence. Based on two annual special reports, the webcast will be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and OGJ Managing Editor-Technology Chris Smith.
The Forecast & Review portion of the webcast will identify forces underlying the collapse in crude oil prices and assess prospects for changes essential to recovery—all in the context of geopolitical pressures buffeting the market.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

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