Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 78

Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Cumhur Ersumer conferred with Azerbaijani President Haidar Aliev and other officials in Baku on April 20-22 regarding the main oil export pipeline from Baku to Turkey’s Mediterranean port Ceyhan. The sides discussed a significant expansion and acceleration of the project, which was initially designed for the export of oil from Azerbaijan’s first contract with an international consortium (the 1995 “deal of the century” for the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oilfields).

The proposals just discussed in Baku center on expanding the pipeline’s annual throughput capacity beyond the sixty to seventy million tons that have hitherto been projected. The expansion would accommodate, first, larger amounts of oil from Azerbaijan itself; and second, some amounts of Kazakhstani and Turkmen oil.

As the Azerbaijani side pointed out, the oil reserves at Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli have turned out to be significantly larger than initially projected. In the meantime, Azerbaijan has since concluded eight other contracts with international consortia for developing its offshore oilfields. Moreover, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan support recent U.S. proposals for a trans-Caspian undersea pipeline which would link up with the Baku-Ceyhan line. The Azerbaijani and Turkish sides agreed during their talks in Baku that building a modern pipeline from Baku to Russia’s port Novorossiisk, as proposed by Russia, is unfeasible. (Turan, international agencies, April 20-22)