Baku-Supsa line reopens, BTC ships Kazakh oil

BP said the TengizChevrOil consortium has begun transporting oil through the BTC pipeline and that the Baku-Supsa pipeline has reopened after being closed during recent hostilities between Russian and Georgia.

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 5 -- BP PLC said the Chevron-led TengizChevrOil (TCO) consortium has begun transporting crude oil through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and that the Baku-Supsa pipeline has reopened after being closed during recent hostilities between Russian and Georgia.

"As of today the Baku-Supsa pipeline has started working again and we will gradually raise the amount of oil pumped through it to the optimal level," said BP Azerbaijan spokesperson Tamam Bayatly Nov. 5.

The State Oil Co. of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) said the Baku-Supsa pipeline, which has a benchmark capacity of 145,000 b/d, will carry 90,000 b/d after reopening and likely will remain at that level until yearend.

The line was closed down as a safety measure in August during Georgia's 5-day war with neighboring Russia. At the time, the Baku-Supsa line had been open only a week after returning to service following an 18-month closure for maintenance and repairs.

BP Azerbaijan also said shipments of TCO oil are now underway through the BP-led BTC pipeline. Shipments of TCO crude began in late October, the firm said, without detailing the amounts or dates of shipments.

The oil from Kazakhstan's Tengiz field is shipped by tankers across the Caspian Sea to the Apsherob Peninsula in Azerbaijan and then loaded into the BTC line, the BP Azerbaijan spokesperson said.

According to SOCAR officials, the BTC line could eventually transport as much as 100,000 b/d of Kazakh oil.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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