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Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan issues

Monday, October 6
There are currently many controversial articles in circulation concerning the BTC oil pipeline. Some of these express their concern that the pipeline has no security guarantees, or that it doesn’t work, or that Azerbaijan is looking for alternative routes via Iran and Russia. Others, on the contrary, think that Europe should take on liabilities to secure the pipeline’s safety.

All these comments prove that the issue of transporting of Caspian oil is very important and that the August war showed the vulnerability of the pipeline and the necessity to maintain and even enlarge its capacity.

The Director of the Centre for Business and Economic Research of Khazar University in Azerbaijan, Fuaad Rasulov, thinks there is a big fight underway to provide new transport corridors and existing the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey route will become more profitable if Kazakhstan and central Asia join it. Rasulov says that Azerbaijan can sell its reserves to Iran and Russia but the existing consortium is more interested in transporting oil through BTC. Rasulov sees a risk in transporting oil through Russia due to its monopolistic claims and also through Iran because of the existing attitude of US and EU towards it.

Due to current problems in Georgia, some of the Azeri oil resources presently go through Russia and Iran. Azerbaijan still intends to focus on the BTC pipeline however, and only diverted its production due to the war. When Europe finally secures BTC safety and Azerbaijan is pumping more oil than it can dispatch through BTC, it can then seriously think of alternative possibilities.