Baku–Supsa Pipeline

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Baku–Supsa Pipeline
Location of Baku–Supsa Pipeline
Location of Baku–Supsa Pipeline
CountryAzerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey
General directioneast–west
FromBaku (Sangachal Terminal), Azerbaijan
Passes throughTbilisi
ToSupsa terminal in Georgia
Runs alongsideBaku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline (partly)
General information
PartnersSOCAR, Azerbaijan International Operating Company, GIOC
Technical information
Length833 km (518 mi)
Maximum discharge145,000 barrels (23,100 m3) per day

The Baku–Supsa Pipeline (also known as the Western Route Export Pipeline and Western Early Oil Pipeline) is an 833-kilometre (518 mi) long oil pipeline, which runs from the Sangachal Terminal near Baku to the Supsa terminal in Georgia. It transports oil from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field. The pipeline is operated by BP.[1]


The preparations for the pipeline's construction started in 1994. On 8 March 1996, President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev and President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze agreed on the establishment of Baku–Supsa pipeline. The trilateral contract was signed between Azerbaijan International Operating Company, SOCAR and the Government of Georgia.[2] At the same year the lead contract of the project was awarded to Kværner. The pipeline was completed in 1998. On 17 April 1999, the inauguration ceremony of the Supsa Oil Terminal took place. The total costs of the construction of the pipeline and terminal were US$556 million.

The oil transportation by the pipeline was stopped on 21 October 2006 after abnormalities were revealed during the inspections on the pipeline.[3] The large scale repair and replacement included replacement and re-routing of pipeline sections near Zestaponi in Georgia and Kura River crossing in Azerbaijan. Also several defects of the Soviet times sections were repaired. In total, the repair works cost US$53 million. The oil shipment restarted in June 2008.[4]

After a major explosion and fire, which closed the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline on 6 August 2008, the Baku–Supsa Pipeline was used to re-route Azeri oil deliveries.[5] On 12 August 2008, BP closed the pipeline temporarily for the safety reasons because of the South Ossetia conflict.[6] In Summer of 2012 pipeline was down a month for a maintenance.[7]

In July 2015 Russian troops demarcating the de facto border of the self-proclaimed Republic of South Ossetia, pushed forward the border line near the village of Orchosani[8] and thereby taking control over a short length of the pipeline. [9] Analysts suggest that this was a Russian reaction to dissuade Georgia from making further moves towards joining NATO. [10] While conceding that the pipeline might need to be diverted in the future, a Vice President of SOCAR reportedly denied any short term need for such concern.[11]

Technical features[edit]

Detailed route map of Baku-Supsa and Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipelines through militarily-contested Georgia.

Essentially, the Baku–Supsa pipeline is a refurbished Soviet era pipeline with several newly built sections. It has six pumping stations and two pressure reduction stations in western Georgia. The four storage tanks at the Supsa terminal have a total capacity of 160,000 cubic metres.[12] The capacity of the pipeline is 145,000 barrels per day (23,100 m3/d) with proposed upgrades to between 300,000 to 600,000 barrels per day (48,000 to 95,000 m3/d).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BP site
  2. ^ "Transport routes of Azerbaijani oil (Baku-Novorossiysk, Baku-Supsa)". Azerbaijan Portal. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  3. ^ "Oil pumping by Baku-Supsa pipeline to resume in May". Today.Az. 2008-04-17. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  4. ^ "Baku-Supsa pipeline to be launched after repair". Today.Az. 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  5. ^ "BP diverts Ceyhan crude as fire still burns". Upstream Today. 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
  6. ^ "BP shuts in Georgia links". Upstream Today. 2008-08-12. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
  7. ^ "BP resumes oil flows via Baku-Supsa pipeline". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-06-16.
  8. ^ In Business Insider, Orchosani is named as the village near the 'lost' section of pipeline
  9. ^ "EU warning over Russia 'land grab' in South Ossetia border row". BBC. 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2015-08-09.
  10. ^ Jamestown analysis of Russia's reasoning
  11. ^ APA reported: "“Even the routes of Baku-Supsa pipeline are not changed, this will not cause any problem for the pipeline”, SOCAR vice-president on investments and marketing Elshan Nasirov said."
  12. ^ "Supsa Terminal and Pipeline, Georgia / Azerbaijan". Hydrocarbons Technology. Retrieved 2008-06-08.

External links[edit]