BTC, operated by BP, announced on 4 June that linefill has been completed and the first cargo of oil, which had traveled 1,768 km across Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey through the BTC pipeline to Ceyhan, has been loaded onto the tanker British Hawthorn.
The tanker sailed away from the new Ceyhan Marine Terminal on the Mediterranean coast on 4 June, BP announced. This first tanker lifting at Ceyhan, with about 600,000 barrels of crude cargo, marks the start of export of Azerbaijans oil via the BTC oil pipeline to world markets, bypassing the Turkish Straits.
A total of 10 million barrels of oil, which came from the ACG field, was required to fill the pipeline, with the oil arriving at Ceyhan at 23:00 hours Baku time on May 28, 2006 enabling the loading for the first lifting.
David Woodward, BPs Associate President in Azerbaijan, said: The First Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oil export from Ceyhan is the culmination of years of work by many thousands of people from the three countries the workforce, communities, companies, regional and international governments, partners and our own staff. This is truly a world class project in all respects and we are very proud of what we have achieved together.
The first party of oil was purchased by ExxonMobil.
The official inauguration of the 1,076 kilometer- long Turkish section of the pipeline, the Ceyhan Terminal and the full BTC system is planned in July. The Turkish section includes four pump stations, two metering stations and the Ceyhan marine export terminal, which itself consists of seven one million barrel capacity crude oil storage tanks, and a two kilometer-long jetty to allow the simultaneous loading of two tankers of up to 300,000 deadweight tones.