Forty percent of construction has been completed on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline for the export of oil. More than USD 1 billion has been spent on the construction already this year, with the amount expected to double by year's end. The figures were disclosed to the press here September 26 by Natig Aliyev, president of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, during a working visit to Tbilisi. He said work was proceeding well and ahead of schedule in each of the three countries involved.
Aliyev said work on the Azerbaijan section of the pipeline would be completed in September 2004, followed by completion in Georgia in October, with a December 2004 completion date for the Turkish section, including the terminal and loading system that will be situated 4 kilometers offshore in the Mediterranean. He also said USD 2 billion has been spent in the Chirag oil field, where 12 working wells have been drilled to date. Security for the operation is being provided by the appropriate structures of the three states, he said.
Georgy Chanturiya, president of the Georgian International Oil Corp., spoke of the enormous significance for Georgia of the building of the oil and gas export pipeline on its land. He said it will assure both the energy security and the independence of Georgia, which is currently entirely dependent on imported Russian gas. Moreover, he said, the oil and gas export pipeline will attract foreign investments in Georgia, help develop Georgia's infrastructure and create thousands of jobs. Most important, he said, Georgia's status as a transit country for the export of fuels to Europe will aid its integration in NATO and bring it closer to the European Union and, thus, help it carry out its strategic tasks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused to go to the 77th UN General Assembly in September