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BP Forced To Boost Security In Azerbaijan As Conflict Escalates

BP will boost security at its oil and gas assets and operations in Azerbaijan after reports of alleged attacks near an important oil pipeline as the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan escalates, the oil supermajor said on Wednesday.  

BP, which started operations in Azerbaijan in 1995, is one of the largest oil investors in the country and operates the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) oilfield in the Caspian Sea, the Shah Deniz offshore gas and condensate field, and the pipelines Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) and South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP).  

Neighbors Armenia and Azerbaijan have been disputing for decades the Nagorno-Karabakh region—an enclave officially part of Azerbaijan but run by ethnic Armenians. Recent clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces have killed hundreds of people, including civilians. The hostilities, which flared up at the end of September, are the worst fighting in the area since 1994 when Armenia and Azerbaijan ended a six-year war over Nagorno-Karabakh. The truce in 1994, however, did officially end the dispute.  BP is now looking to increase security at its operated assets in Azerbaijan—a large oil and gas producer in the region—especially after reports of alleged attacks near oil pipelines. 

On Tuesday, Azerbaijan accused Armenia of targeting the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, to which Armenian Defense Ministry press secretary Shushan Stepanian replied that “Azerbaijan's reports of Armenian troops' attempt to strike the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline are outright lies.” 

In a statement to Reuters on Wednesday, BP said, “We are especially worried about yesterday’s reports of a missile attack, which was intercepted and destroyed by Azerbaijan’s air defence systems in the vicinity of BTC and SCP export pipelines.” 

“While the security of all assets which BP operates on behalf of the Azerbaijan government and our partners is provided by the Azerbaijani government, we continue to work closely with the relevant authorities in an effort to take necessary measures to provide the protection of our personnel, operations and assets,” BP added. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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