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BP-Azerbaijan, operating the Azeri export pipeline from the Azerbaijan’s Caspian oil export terminal at Baku westwards to the Georgian Black Sea oil terminus at Supsa, has announced that it has suspended oil exports along the route until 27 July.
BP-Azerbaijan public relations manager Tamam Bayatli observed, "On 10 June the company commenced upgrading on the 'Chirag-1' platform - on the oldest extractive platform for the purpose of safety improving and further firmness and stability of the keeping works. With that end in view extractive operations are to be temporarily suspended," Azeri news agency Turan reported.
The Baku-Supsa pipeline, an upgrade of a previous Soviet-era pipeline, was launched on 15 April 1999, and its current throughput capacity is 150 thousand barrels (bpd) a day.
The shutdown will also affect crude oil loading at Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sangachal terminal, where operations will also be partially halted, BP said. Before the maintenance work began, Azerbaijan’s offshore Caspian Chirag platform produced between 80,000-85,000 barrels of oil a day.
BP currently is the operator of Azerbaijan's Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli Caspian block, part of a consortium that includes Chevron, Statoil ASA, Inpex Corp. and Japan’s Itochu Corp.
Of all the post-Soviet Caspian riparian states, Azerbaijan has proven to be the friendliest to foreign investment.
By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com