Azerbaijan's elite guards to protect Shah-Deniz pipeline

Oct 10, 2001 02:00 AM

Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev's elite personal guards are to be charged with ensuring the security of the gas pipeline that will be built to carry gas from the Shah-Deniz deposit across Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey. The Azerbaijani army will transfer a large number of soldiers to the elite guard unit for this purpose, Turan said, citing an official source in Baku.
Georgian and Azerbaijani officials have on occasion suggested that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) establish a special force to protect Caspian oil and gas pipelines, especially the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline. However, intelligence officials from Azerbaijan and other Turcophone states have agreed at a meeting in Kyrgyzstan in September to take responsibility for ensuring the BTC line's security.

The Georgian government will be informed of all measures taken on this front since the BTC pipeline will cross Georgian territory, they said. BP will lead the effort to build a conduit for Shah-Deniz gas;the pipeline will be built in parallel with the BTC pipeline along the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum route.
The cost of constructing the Shah-Deniz gas pipeline is expected to reach about $ 1 bn. When finished, the pipe will be able to carry an initial 2 bn cmpy of gas, with throughput eventually rising to 16 bn cmpy. Azerbaijan and Georgia signed an agreement on transit fees for the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline earlier this month.

Source: NewsBase
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