At a length of 1,768km, the Baku Tbilisi Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline is one of the great engineering endeavours of the new millennium.
The BTC oil export pipeline transports crude oil from offshore oil fields in the Caspian Sea to the Turkish coast of the Mediterranean from where the crude is further shipped via tankers to European markets.
The pipeline travels from the Sangachal terminal near Baku through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to the Ceyhan marine terminal on the Turkish coast of the Mediterranean.
The pipeline, which is buried along its entire length, is 1768km in total length: 443km in Azerbaijan, 249km in Georgia, and 1,076km in Turkey.
The diameter of the pipeline is 42 inches throughout most of Azerbaijan and Turkey. In Georgia the pipeline diameter is 46 inches. The pipeline diameter reduces to 34-inches for the last downhill section to the Ceyhan Marine Terminal in Turkey.
The pipeline throughput capacity is one million barrels of oil per day.
The BTC pipeline facilities include:
8 pump stations (2 in Azerbaijan, 2 in Georgia, 4 in Turkey)
2 intermediate pigging stations
1 pressure reduction station
101 small block valves
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline Company (BTC Co) is responsible for the construction and operation of the whole pipeline. It is an incorporated joint venture company made up of 11 shareholders and managed by BP, its largest shareholder.
Linefill of the BTC pipeline started at 10 May, 2005 and first oil reached the Ceyhan terminal on 28 May, 2006.
Approximately 10 million barrels of oil were required to fill the line.
The first tanker export of crude which had travelled through the line was on 4 June, 2006.