August 26, 2008

BP Tells Itochu, Others of Restart of Key Pipeline Operation

Tokyo, Aug. 26 (Jiji Press)--British oil major BP PLC has told major Japanese trader Itochu Corp. and other partners that it will resume the operations of a key pipeline for transporting crude oil from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea as early as on Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter said.

BP suspended the operations due to a fire that occurred at a section of the pipeline in Turkey on Aug. 5.

Now that repair work has been completed, the pipeline is expected to resume transporting 800,000 barrels per day of crude oil, according to the sources.

The 1,700-kilometer pipeline extends from the Azerbaijani capital of Baku to Ceyhan in southern Turkey via the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

BP has the largest stake in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, or BTC, pipeline project. Besides Itochu, partners of the project include major Japanese natural resources developer Inpex Holdings Inc. and companies from other nations.

Meanwhile, the recent fighting between Russia and Georgia has not caused damage on the pipeline, according to the sources.END

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