The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, which takes oil from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, was officially opened this week by the presidents of those three countries.
The 1,770-km (1,100-mile) pipeline – operated by BP – is designed to bring oil to Western markets without using tanker transport along the Black Sea and the Bosporus. Bypassing Russia, the pipeline brings oil from the Sangachal Terminal near Baku to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, from where it is shipped West.
Planned for a decade, the project cost an estimated $3.7 billion to $3.9 billion and had the strong support of the USA. The first linefill operations began last May, and at full capacity the pipeline can carry 1 million barrels of oil a day.