On 1 August 2021 the process of transition of the technical operatorship of the South Caucasus Pipeline Company (SCPC) from BP Exploration (Shah Deniz) to SOCAR Midstream Operations, a fully-owned subsidiary of Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company (SOCAR), was finalised. The South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) is one of the four segments of the Southern Gas Corridor, designated to export natural gas from Azerbaijan via Georgia to Turkey and Europe.
The transfer of technical operatorship was carried out in fulfilment of the revised SCPC Pipeline Owners’ Agreement, signed in December 2013 as part of the final investment decision on the Shah Deniz Stage 2 and South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion (SCPX) projects.
The agreement entitles SOCAR to undertake the technical operatorship of SCPC on the first anniversary of the SCPX construction completion date. The SCPX construction was completed in March 2019. A year later, in March 2020 SOCAR Midstream Operations officially became the Technical Operator of SCPC with the agreed transition period. The transition process which started in March 2020 has been completed in July 2021.
“After six years of successful commercial operatorship of the South Caucasus Pipeline Company SOCAR now takes over the technical operatorship of SCPC,” said Rovnag Abdullayev, President of SOCAR adding that it’s a tremendous achievement for the Azerbaijani state company to operate the international gas pipeline.
The President of SOCAR underlined that SCP is one of the key sections of the Southern Gas Corridor aimed at boosting Azerbaijan’s gas exports, supporting energy security, supply diversification and decarbonisation goals in Turkey and Europe.
The South Caucasus Pipeline was built to export Shah Deniz gas from Azerbaijan to Georgia and Turkey. The pipeline starts from the Sangachal terminal near Baku. It follows the route of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) crude oil pipeline through Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey, where it is linked to the Turkish gas distribution system. SCP comprises a gas offtake at the Azerbaijan-Georgia border as well, connecting the SCP to the Georgian gas distribution system. South Caucasus Pipeline Company (SCPC) has been responsible for the construction and operation of the whole pipeline. The length of the pipeline is 692 kilometres, while the design capacity is 7.4 billion cubic metres per annum (bcma). The project was launched in 2013 and after commissioning in June 2018, it began to transport gas to Turkey and in December 2020 to Europe. In the first quarter of 2021, SCP’s average daily throughput was 50.74 million cubic metres.
Fuad M. Ahmadov, Executive Director of SOCAR Midstream Operations emphasised that the technical operatorship of the SCP system also imposes an enormous responsibility this imposes on SOCAR.
“As the successor Technical Operator, we will continue working closely with BP and all the partners to sustain the high level of safety, efficiency, environmental and social performance SCPC has reached under BP’s operatorship,” said Mr Ahmadov adding that the cooperation will bring significant benefits to the host countries, shareholders, employees and neighbouring communities.
Gary Jones, BP’s Regional President for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, said that as the biggest shareholder in Shah Deniz and SCPC, BP will remain committed to working closely with SOCAR in support of their new responsibility, (BP holds 28.8 per cent of the shares in the South Caucasus Pipeline Company). Mr Jones underlined that SCP is a critical part of the Southern Gas Corridor which for the first time delivers Caspian energy resources to European markets, therefore close cooperation between the two companies is essential to ensure its safety, efficiency and long-term reliability.