Half the work on Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline to be completed by end 2003 – INTERFAX

He also said that in September 2003 construction of the Azerbaijani section of the pipeline would be completed, in October - the Georgian section and in December - the Turkish section of the pipeline. Welding work is currently underway, after which the pipes will receive protective treatment.

Azerbaijan has already received supplies of 80 km of pipes. In total, the supply of pipes will be completed in six to seven weeks.

Aliyev said that 60%-70% of the owners of land through which the pipeline passes have already received compensation. This process will also be completed within several weeks.

Camps for construction workers have been set up at the Umbaky station and in the cities of Kyurdyamir and Gyandja and 800 people have been hired, 80% of whom are from the local population. Similar work is being carried out in Georgia and in Turkey. Meanwhile, two thirds of the cost of the project, or USD 2.1 billion, will be spent by the end of this year, Aliyev said.

Participants in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project are British Petroleum (30.1%), SOCAR (25%), Unocal (8.9%), Statoil (8.71%), TPAO (6.53%), Eni (5%), ConocoPhillips (2.5%), Inpex (2.5%), TotalFinaElf (5%) and Amerada Hess (2.36%).

The cost of the Baku-Ceyhan project is estimated at USD 2.95 billion. According to the concept for the financing of the project, the participating companies will cover 30% of the cost, and 70% will be borrowed. The future pipeline will stretch 1,730 kilometres and will have a capacity of 50 million tonnes of oil per annum(or about one million barrels per day). The planned launch date for the pipeline is the end of 2004 - start of 2005.

Contact: Erik Ranheim