Oil Pipelines in the Caucasian Region: The Role of British Petroleum in Their Construction
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Oil Pipelines in the Caucasian Region: The Role of British Petroleum (BP) in their Construction
Introduction: The Need to Construct Pipelines
One of the world's largest collections of oil fields lies beneath the great Caspian Sea. However, as the sea is landlocked, oil transportation to the West poses a complication. Previously, all the transportation routes for oil transport from this area were constructed through Russia but their usage became inconvenient with the collapse of the Soviet Union as Russia declined to participate in any such activities ("BP/BTC Pipeline Project"). The option of transport through Iran was also considered inappropriate due to the growing conflicts between the American and Iranian governments. So the idea of construction of oil and gas pipelines through central Asia was proposed and greatly appreciated. With this aim, a collection of different foreign oil companies under the leadership of British Petroleum (BP) signed the 'contract of the century'; a 30 year agreement with the leading oil company in Azerbaijan that is SOCAR. According to the agreed terms and conditions, an average of 80,000 barrels of oil was to be produced on daily basis (Babali 2005) (Bagirov 1994). BP was also given responsibility for the development and improvement of the oil fields in the rest of the Caucasian region, which was likely to contain almost 5.4 billion barrels of oil reserves (Bagirov 1994).
The Baku Supsa Pipeline
The construction of an 833 kilometres long