First supertanker loaded from BTC pipeline

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Feb. 21 -- Statoil ASA is marketing the first oil to be exported by very large crude carrier from the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Oil from the Caspian Sea is transported through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, in which the group holds an interest.

The Astro Challenge VLCC set sail Feb. 16, marking the first time that a VLCC departed from the Ceyhan terminal on the Mediterranean.

A VLCC is able to load as much as 2 million bbl of oil. The oil stream through the BTC line is now flowing at such a rate that these carriers can be loaded in Ceyhan. Astro Challenge is now on its way around Africa en route to the Asia-Pacific region.

BTC supplies the terminal in the Mediterranean city of Ceyhan with oil from the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) field in the Azeri sector of the Caspian. The 1,768-km pipeline was opened on July 13, 2006.

During February the transported volume through BTC has reached 600,000 b/d of oil. By the end of 2008 this will have increased to 1 million b/d.

Oil from ACG field is a light crude with a low-sulfur content. Statoil has an 8.56% interest in the international consortium that produces this oil, and an 8.71% stake in BTC. BP is operator for both ACG and BTC.

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