First "early Caspian oil" in tanker at Supsa to European markets
The first tanker to be filled with "early Caspian oil" which has reached the Georgian oil terminal close to Supsa on
the Black sea coast through a pipeline running from Baku on the Caspian coast will soon be ready to sail west,
sources in the Georgian pipeline company headquarters told.
The loading of oil from the floating oil terminal into the tanks of the Piemonte tanker of Italian Agip had begun recently and was expected to be completed within three days. The tanker will take nearly 80,000 tonnes of oil to refinery in the Spanish town of Castellan.
Subsequently tankers will be loaded at Supsa once every 7 to 10 days, the sources said.
The construction of the Georgian stretch of the Baku-Supsa pipeline was completed in March 1999. The capacity of the floating oil terminal 3 km from Supsa id 150,000 tonnes and the terminal in Supsa can hold 40,000 tonnes of oil in each of its four tanks. The sources at headquarters of the Georgian international oil company told that the Baku-Supsa pipeline will be officially put into operation in a ceremony on April 17, 1999. The presidents of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine and representatives of the U.S. administration and international organisations, as well as foreign oil companies are expected to attend the ceremony.
The Baku-Supsa pipeline will probably have to stand a fresh test soon as Baku has discontinued pumping oil through
the northern, Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline in the hope that the new Azerbaijan-Georgia pipeline will be able to cope
with the additional load. Oil experts say, however, that it would be impossible for the Azeri international operating
line to pump the 300 thousand tonnes of oil due to be delivered to Novorossiysk in April to Supsa in one month as the
throughput of the western (Azeri-Georgian) pipeline is not more than 40, 000 bpd, while the northern,
Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline capacity is 2.5-times greater.
Sources in Azerbaijan's international operating company (AIOC), which is developing the Azeri-Chirag-Gyunsheli oil field under a contract told that the Baku- Novorossiysk pipeline will be temporarily out of use because of its blockage by Chechnya. First Vice-President of the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilkham Aliyev told that Chechnya resorted to blockage after Russia's Transneft company failed to pay the bill from the Chechen oil company for oil transportation through Chechen territory.
The problem may become formidable unless a decision on the resumption of oil transportation along the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline is made within two or three days.