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Tengizchevroil to start oil shipments on BTC line

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 10 -- BP Azerbaijan, partially confirming earlier reports, announced that the Chevron Corp.-led Tengizchevroil consortium plans to start oil shipments this month via the BP-run Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline.

"We expect to start pumping some volumes of Tengizchevroil's crude via the [BTC] pipeline in the second half of October," said company spokesman Tamam Bayatly. She did not say how much oil was expected to be delivered.

Earlier this week, BP PLC announced plans to begin shipping oil from Kazakhstan's Tengiz oil field via the 1,770-km BTC pipeline beginning later this month (OGJ Online, Oct. 9, 2008).

BP said the oil would be transported by barge from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan and then loaded into the pipeline, with exports from Ceyhan expected to begin in mid-November.

Late last month, Tengizchevroil was reported to have made an agreement to ship up to 2 million tonnes/year of oil—possibly rising to 5 million tonnes/year—by barge across the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan and onward by rail across Georgia to export terminals on the Black Sea (OGJ Online, Sept. 25, 2008).

Tengizchevroil has been struggling with its joint venture partners to double the capacity of the CPC pipeline export route to 60 million tonnes/year to accommodate rising output in the Central Asian country. The pipeline runs from Kazakhstan to Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk.

In September, Chevron said its Tengizchevroil affiliate had completed a major expansion at Tengiz field in Kazakhstan that will raise oil production capacity to 540,000 b/d, up 35% over the 400,000 b/d achieved earlier this year in the firm's first expansion phase.

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