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Saudi Arabia to inaugurate $ 3.5 billion oil pipeline

Source: 7/2/2006, Location: Middle East

A new $ 3.5-billion oil pipeline, whose high-profile inauguration will be attended by Saudi Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali Al-Naimi on July 13 in Turkey, will serve as an east-west energy corridor linking Azerbaijan with Turkey and from there to the Western markets. After the pipeline becomes operative, eight percent of oil in the world will transit from Turkey and it will earn an annual income of nearly $ 300 million.

“The inauguration of the pipeline project will be attended by three senior Saudi officials, including Al-Naimi. Arne Walther, secretary general of the International Energy Forum (IEF), and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) will also attend the event,” said a spokesman of the Turkish Embassy.

“The BTC pipeline project is an important new energy link in an area of increasing importance for global energy security,” said Walther in an interview with Arab News.

This pipeline passes through Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan; Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia; and Ceyhan, a port on the southeastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey.

Referring to the Saudi-Turkish ties, especially in oil sector and the forthcoming visit of Minister Al-Naimi to Turkey, the embassy’s spokesman said that oil and other petroleum products constitutes 75 percent of all imports from Saudi Arabia to Turkey.

He said that the two-way trade had been in the region of $ 2.6 billion including $ 603 million worth of crude oil, which Ankara imported from Saudi Arabia. He said that it was the second longest oil pipeline in the world (the longest being the Druzhba pipeline from Russia to central Europe).

The pipeline will make Ceyhan in Turkey an important center for global oil market, and contribute to environmental safety of the Istanbul strait by easing the traffic in the strait. Of its total length of 1,760 km, 440 km lies in Azerbaijan, 244.5 km in Georgia and 1,070 km in Turkey.

The pipeline has a daily capacity of one million barrels.

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