Construction of the Pipelines Starts in Summer 2002
Launching of Baku-Tbilisi-Erzrum gas pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline projects will provide Georgia with energy resources. Starting from 2004 Georgia will earn annual 175 million USD from Baku-Tbilisi-Erzrum pipeline, which would have 245 kilometers on Georgian territory.
According to the statement of the Speaker of Georgian Parliament Nino Burjanadze, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzrum line is important, because after its launching Georgia will not be dependent only on Russian “Itera” company – the only supplier of natural gas for Georgia at present.
On December 19 Georgian Parliament ratified the interstate agreement on Baku-Tbilisi-Erzrum pipeline. Turkish and Azeri parliaments already ratified the agreement.
David Woodword, President of Azerbaijan International Operation Company, head of Azerbaijan branch of “British Petroleum” visited Georgia on December 17 in connection with ratification of the contract. He met President Shevardnadze and Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze.
During the meetings, the sides concluded the conducted activities and discussed future prospects of the pipeline construction.
Construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Erzrum line, as well as of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan line is expected to start in summer 2002 and end for year 2004. The construction will employ approximately 70 000 personnel, 80% of which would be a local staff. At present detailed technical planning of the pipelines is in process.
Baku-Tbilisi-Erzrum is planned to transfer 950 billion cubic meters of natural gas. During 40 years Georgia will get 50 billion cubic meters, worth of $ 1,5 billion, free. This would be a 5 % of total quantity of transferred gas. At the same time the Georgian side will have the right to demand transit fee instead of gas. Along this Georgia will be able to purchase 8,8 billion cubic meters with lower price.
President of Georgian International Oil Corporation Gia Chanturia believes that launching of the oil pipeline will significantly contribute to the settlement of Abkhazian problem. After launching of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, it would be possible to connect Tengiz-Novorosiisk line to the new pipe, to avoid transit through narrow Bosphorus straight or run the parallel line to Ceyhan. This connecting pipe is planned to go through territory of Abkhazia. Experts believe that peace and security must be ensured in Abkhazia in order to construct the connecting pipeline.
Presentations of the pipeline are being held throughout whole Georgia. Presentations were held in Kvemo Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti districts. These are the regions through which the pipeline would run. The Oil Corporation and the British Petroleum are jointly organizing the presentations. Gia Chanturia says that it would be the most open and transparent project ever. “Participation of the society is the best guarantee for project’s success” – he says.
The both projects are vital because both of them have political significance along with economic one. This projects ‘liberate’ Georgia from dependence on “Itera” company, which often is used as a tool of political pressure.
by Salome Jashi, Civil Georgia