ECONOMY


BTC CO BOARD OF DIRECTORS HOLDING MEETING IN LONDON

A session of the Board of Directors of BTC Co, the operator for the construction and exploitation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, is currently underway in London where the board will approve the packet of financial documents for the construction of the BTC oil pipeline that will be signed with the creditors.

As earlier announced, the signing of the loan agreement between BTC Co and the international financial institutions to finance the BTC pipeline project will take place in Jan 2004 in Baku.

The total amount of funds in loans for this project including interest is USD2.5 billion of which USD600-800 million will be issued by four partner companies namely bp, Statoil, ConocoPhillips and Total.

For the construction of the BTC pipeline, in general USD2.95 billion (the total cost of the project is USD3.6 billion including interests to be paid back on the loans) will be needed, and the rest of the cost of the project will be covered from internal funds and also from export credit organizations and commercial banks.

Partners of BTC include: bp (30.1%); SOCAR (25.00%); Unocal (8.90%); Statoil (8.71%); TPAO (6.53%); Eni (5.00%); Itochu (3.40%); ConocoPhillips(2.50%); INPEX (2.50%), Total S. A (5.00%) and Amerada Hess (2.36%).

This pipeline spans a distance of 1767 km of which 443 km is in Azerbaijan, 248km in Georgia and 1076km in Turkey. Carrying capacity is 50 million tons of oil per year and construction should be completed in the fourth quarter of 2004. Export of Azerbaijani oil from the port of Ceyhan (Turkey, Mediterranean Sea) should start from the second quarter of 2005.

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