South Caucasus Natural Gas Pipeline

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The 292-kilometre South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), also known as the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (BTE) pipeline,[1]carries gas from the Shah Deniz Field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, through Georgia and into Turkey. It follows the route of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) crude oil pipeline and is linked in Turkey to the Turkish gas distribution system. 443 kilometres of the pipeline lie in Azerbaijani territory, while 250 kilometres run through Georgia.[2] Gas and condensate from the Shah Deniz field are piped to the Sangachal terminal, where they feed the pipeline. Once in Turkey the gas is routed to Erzurum through the system belonging to Turkish pipeline operator Botas.[3] Work began on the project in 2004 and was completed by the end of 2006. First deliveries of gas to Azerbaijan and Georgia began on the 30 September 2006, and in July 2007 the line was extended to Turkey.[4]

In 2003 while the pipeline route was being negotiated, Viktor Kalyuzhnyi, Russia's envoy for Caspian issues, suggested that the construction of the SCP was unnecessary and that the gas could instead be exported via the Blue Stream pipeline running from Southern Russia to Turkey under the Black Sea. However US officials responded that it was preferable for Azerbaijan to maintain control over its own export capacity rather than rely on pipelines monopolised by other suppliers.[5]

In June 2012, gas flows through the pipeline had to be stopped due to an explosion in Turkish territory. Turkish operator Botas blamed the explosion on technical failures, however Turkish officials claimed rebel Turkish group the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was behind the attack.[6]


The project is run by joint venture company the South Caucasus Pipeline Company (SCPC), which is responsible for contraction and operation of the pipeline. The company is made up of seven shareholders and operated by BP and Statoil.[2]


The SCP is 42 inches in diameter and is capable of carrying up to 7 billion cubic metres of gas.[2]

Expansion Plans

There are plans to expand the pipeline within the framework of the Shah Deniz Full Field Development Project, involving the laying of new pipelines across Azerbaijan and the construction of two new compressor stations in Georgia. This expansion will triple the gas volumes exported through the pipeline to over 20 billion cubic metres per year. At the border with Turkey the pipeline will link to other new pipelines, which will in turn carry gas to Turkey and into the European Union.[2]


  1. BTE Pipeline Supply to Resume on June 8th”. Natural Gas Europe, 6 June 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Supplying gas to meet the needs of regional consumers.”. BP Caspian, 6 June 2012.
  3. Shah Deniz and the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP)”. Statoil, 6 June 2012.
  4. South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP)”. SOCAR Germany, retrieved 6 August 2012.
  5. BTE pipeline “unnecessary””. Pipelines International, 7 July 2003.
  6. Eastern Europe and CIS”. Petroleum Economist, 9 July 2012.