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BTC capacity at maximum by 2009

July 25, 2008 at 4:10 PM

BAKU, Azerbaijan, July 25 (UPI) -- The government of Azerbaijan said it would increase the capacity of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline to its maximum capacity in 2009.

"Next year the pipeline will reach its design capacity and start exporting 50 million tons (350 million barrels) of oil a year," said Azeri President Ilham Aliyev.

Nearly 137 million barrels of oil departed the Turkish port of Ceyhan in the first half of 2008 with oil from the 1,099-mile BTC pipeline.

Directors for the consortium managing the pipeline agreed in March to boost production to 1.2 million barrels per day at a cost $70 million, the Azerbaijan Business Center reported Friday.

The BTC crude oil pipeline delivers oil from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field in the Caspian Sea to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

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