press release

Presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey inaugurate BTC

The following news release was issued by BP

The Azerbaijan section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil export pipeline was inaugurated today by the Presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey in an official ceremony, which was held at the BTC head pump station in the Sangachal Terminal near Baku. This event marks the official celebration of first oil into the Heydar Aliyev BTC main export pipeline.

President Ilham Aliyev of the Azerbaijan Republic hosted the event, in which he was joined by the President of Turkey Ahmet Nejdet Sezer, the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakasvili, the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, a large group of visiting senior government and state officials, senior executives of BTC owner companies and business representatives.

The inauguration of BTC follows the commissioning of the BTC head pump station at the Sangachal terminal earlier this month and officially marks the commencement of the first linefill phase of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil export pipeline.

A total of 10 million barrels of crude oil is required to fill the 1770 kilometre pipeline running from the Sangachal terminal near Baku via Georgia to the Ceyhan terminal on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. The oil comes from the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea. The staged filling of the pipeline along its entire route could take over six months and the loading of the first tanker at Ceyhan is expected in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Natig Aliyev, President of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), said: "Today's event marks the beginning of the long journey Azerbaijan's oil will take through three countries to world markets benefiting the people of the three countries on its route. We are putting first oil into the pipeline with a sense of pride that we take in Azerbaijan's leading role in the realization of one of the world's longest and, we believe, safest pipelines. The event also marks the realization of the dream of the people of Azerbaijan and our national leader Heydar Aliyev to realize a pipeline that would bridge the nations of the region and enable Azerbaijan to regain its important role in regional and international economic developments. I wish to congratulate all the citizens of Azerbaijan and all our partners who contributed to the fulfillment of this dream."

David Woodward, BP Azerbaijan Associate President, said: "This is a great moment as it marks Azerbaijan's rebirth as an important country for the industry just as it was more than a century ago. It is also a symbol of what can be achieved through cooperation - between different countries, nation states and national companies and international business. None of us could have done this on our own. Ten years ago many people said that this was an impossible project. Thanks to many people the impossible was made possible."

"Over the last decade nearly $10 billion have been invested in this country's oil and gas developments in the Caspian, and over the next decade that will make the Caspian region one of the major sources of incremental supply to the world market. Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for both Azerbaijan and BP".

The BTC Co. shareholders are: BP (30.1%); AzBTC (25.00%); Unocal (8.90%); Statoil (8.71%); TPAO (6.53%); Eni (5.00%); Total (5.00%), Itochu (3.40%); INPEX (2.50%), ConocoPhillips (2.50%) and Amerada Hess (2.36%).

Notes to Editors:

The 1770-km BTC pipeline will allow one million barrels of oil a day to be exported safely and responsibly from the Caspian without increasing tanker traffic through the Turkish Straits. It is buried for its entire length and following construction land is being fully re-instated.

In addition, the project's community investment programme (CIP) is up and running in all three countries. Overall BTC together with the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), being built to carry Shah Deniz gas from the Caspian to Georgia and Turkey, will spend some $30 million on community and environmental investment in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey during the construction phase. As we move into the operations phase, we are also developing a Regional Sustainable Development Programme (RSDP), which will build upon the best practice of existing CIP projects as well as addressing some of the regional and national challenges posed by the development of large-scale oil and gas businesses.

Tamam Bayatly or Gulnar Hall, BP Press Office, Baku
Telephone: (+994 12) 4 979 000
Fax: (+994 12) 4 979 736

Updated: May 2005