The Chechen sector of the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline opened on November 9. The deputy president of the Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft, Yury Lisin, and the former president of the Chechen Southern Oil Company, Khozhakhmed Yarikhanov, took part in the ceremony on the Chechen-Dagestani border. The 1,000-km (600-mile) pipeline links Azerbaijan’s offshore Caspian Sea fields with Russia’s Black Sea port of Novorossiisk. Repairs were recently completed on the Chechen section, which was badly damaged during the 1994-96 war. Lisin praised the pipeline repair as "a fine example of economic cooperation between Russia and Chechnya." The opening ceremony came a day after the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) said it had started pumping the first crude through the pipeline. This year, the pipeline will carry up to 150,000 tons of "early" Caspian oil, but there are plans for significantly larger shipments next year. (Reuter, November 9; See also South Caucasus section below)
Chechens Accuse Dagestani Official of Involvement in Kidnappings.