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The World

Caspian Pipeline Underway

September 19, 2002|From Associated Press

SANGACHAL, Azerbaijan — U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham joined the presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey on Wednesday for the start of construction of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline.

The pipeline from Azerbaijan's Sangachal terminal, 25 miles south of the capital, Baku, to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan has been under discussion for eight years. When completed, it is expected to reduce dependence on Persian Gulf exporters and Russian pipelines.

Abraham, Azerbaijani President Heydar A. Aliyev, Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Georgian President Eduard A. Shevardnadze, whose territory the pipeline will cross, participated in Wednesday's groundbreaking ceremony.

"This project guarantees peace, security and stability in the region and still further unites three countries and three peoples," Aliyev said at the ceremony.

The 1,091-mile pipeline, which will be operated by BP, will carry Caspian Basin energy resources--the world's third-largest--to the Turkish port en route to Western markets.

The pipeline project, to be completed in 2004, has won strong support from the U.S., which is eager to find a more stable energy source outside the sway of the Mideast.

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