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Turkmen Oil Starts Flowing Through BTC Pipeline

Leaders of Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan pose with BP CEO John Browne at the opening of the BTC pipeline in 2006.
BP Azerbaijan has announced that Turkmen oil is now flowing through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline.

The company only said that the pipeline is capable of handling some 800,000 barrels per day and that Turkmen oil will account for 4-5 percent of this volume.

Baku-based energy expert Ilham Shaban tells RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service that every two days Turkmenistan is unloading some 5,000 tons of oil at Baku.

Plans call for doubling that amount by the end of August or early September.

The oil is being brought to Baku aboard tankers from Turkmenistan.

Turkmenistan purchased two tankers (7,000 tons) from Russia's Krasnoye Sormovo shipyard last year and is expecting a third tanker before the end of September.

Turkmenistan has been seeking to diversify its hydrocarbon export routes.

Use of the BTC pipeline allows Turkmenistan to export oil to Europe via a route that does not pass through Russia.

with agency reports