Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline, Georgia

Ensuring energy security to Europe; the BTC pipeline will bring oil from the Caspian sea to the Mediterranean leaving on the ground socio-environmental impacts, violence and corruption


The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline is 1,768 kilometers long, transporting crude oil from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field in the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, connecting Baku and Ceyhan via Tbilisi. Negotiations and first works on pipeline started during the late 1990s, after BP made new oil discoveries in Azerbaijan. The agreement in support of the pipeline was signed on 18 November 1999 by the governments of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey in Istanbul, Turkey. The project took more than 10 years to finish and has been commissioned in 2006.

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Basic Data
NameBaku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline, Georgia
ProvinceAzerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia
SiteTbilisi, Georgia and Erzurum, Turkey and Sariz, Turkey
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Oil and gas refining
Specific CommoditiesCrude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsLength: 1,768 km

Current throughput capacity: 1,2 million barrels of oil per day

Projected lifespan: 40 years
Project Area (in hectares)Approximately 17,680 hectares
Level of Investment (in USD) 3,900,000,000 USD
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population60,000 – 100,000 • 60,000 direct landowners (17,700 individual land parcels traversed by the pipeline) partially affected by resettlements
Start Date01/01/1999
Company Names or State EnterprisesBP Global Exploration from United States of America
Relevant government actorsGovernments of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey
International and Financial InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
Corporación financiera Internacional (CFI)
Environmental justice organisations and other supporters• Amnesty International :

• Friends of the Earth International :
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationMedia based activism/alternative media
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Oil spills
OtherIn Georgia, the pipeline runs through the Borjomi National Park where it has left a visible scar on the landscape. As the park is also the region's primary source of Borjomi water and therefore of income, a leak or spill from the pipeline would have devastating effects on local communities depending on the water.
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The cooperation of BP, other oil companies and Western governments for the pipeline has been heavily criticized since the beginning of negotiations and during its implementation, due to the very poor human and civil rights record of the Aliyev Regime and other human rights violations that occurred in Turkey and Georgia, but the companies still maintain their operations in the region.
Sources and Materials

Follow up to the Revised Final Statement by the UK National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (the Guidelines): Specific Instance: Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline, UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, 05.10.2011,
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BARRY, Andrew (2013), Material Politics: Disputes Along the Pipeline, Royal Geographical Society with IBG, WILEY Blackwell,
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BARAN, Zeyno (2005), The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline: Implications for Turkey, The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, Silk Road Studies Program,
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BP: stop fuelling repression in Azerbaijan, Arts Activism Education Research, 17.09.2014,
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Violence marks Azerbaijan oil pipeline protest, ABC, 21.05.2005,
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Giant Caspian oil pipeline opens, BBC News, 25.05.2005,
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Azerbaijan: Protest calls on BP to cut ties with Aliyev regime, Index Censorship, by Aimee Hamilton, 17.09.2014,
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Azeri police beat, detain demonstrators after vote protest rally, REUTERS, Thomas Grove, 12.10.2013,
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Case Study: Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan Pipeline, People and Planet,
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BTC costs hit $3.9bn, Upstream, Anthea Pitt, 19.04.2006,
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Case Study 1: Human Rights Problems in the Pipeline, Clean Up Britain's Exports,
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BP failed to act on reports of intimidation along Turkish pipeline, The Guardian, Heather Stewart, 09.03.2011,
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Challenges of Development, The BTC Pipeline and Extractive Industries Review, IFC Sustainability Report 2004,
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BP, Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline,
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[1] Eca Watch - Baku-T’bilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline (BTC pipeline)
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Media Links

Route of the BTC pipeline:
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Czech documentary film Zdroy (Source) on the BTC pipeline (2005):
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Other Documents

Oil Fields Source:
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Meta Information
Last update24/04/2015