The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation plan to consider financing the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline project in October.

EBRD Senior Banker Charlotte Philips said at a briefing on September 4, that a final decision has not yet been reached on the discussion by the EBRD board of directors of crediting the pipeline. "A lot of significance will be put on the results of public hearings. After October 14, when the deadline for public hearings expires, a special group for this project will prepare a report for bank management,' he said.

Shahvaz Mavaddar, aide to the director of the IFC said at the briefing that the IFC's board of directors might consider granting a credit at the end of October.

Philips noted that the EBRD, together with the IFC, is ready to pay out $400 million-$600 million to finance the pipeline project. "The EBRD plans to pay out a credit of $100 million - $150 million for the project and the IFC is ready to pay out the same amount. The rest will be received in the form of syndicated credits," she said. Philips noted that the EBRD credit would be provided for up to 12 years. "However, the other conditions of the credit will not be publicly announced," she said.

The IFC and EBRD plan to hold public hearings on the Baku-Tbilisi- Ceyhan project in August-September. It is planned that a total of six public meetings will be held, including two in Turkey - on August 26 in Erzurum and on August 28 in Adan. The meetings in Azerbaijan are being held on September 1 and 4 in the cities of Gyandja and Baku, and in Georgia - on September 8 and 11 in Borzhomi and Tbilisi. The IFC and EBRD are holding the public hearings are to evaluate the environmental and social impact of the construction at the request of a number of non- government organizations.

The future pipeline will stretch 1,767 kilometers (443 km through Azerbaijan, 248 km through Georgia and 1,076 km through Turkey) and will have a capacity of 50 million tonnes of oil per annum and will require 1.5 million tonnes of oil to fill it. The cost of the project is estimated at $2.95 billion. It is planned to complete construction work in the fourth quarter 2004 and to start exporting Azerbaijani oil from the port of Ceyhan in the second quarter.

Participants in the BTC project are: British Petroleum (30.1%), SOCAR (25%), Unocal (8.9%), Statoil (8.71%), TPAO (6.53%), ENI (5%), Itochu (3.4%), ConocoPhillips (2.5%), Inpex (2.5%), TotalFinaElf (5%), and Amerada Hess (2.36%).

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