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BTC Pipeline: Turkey


Oil from the BTC pipeline will end its overland journey at the marine terminal in Ceyhan, Turkey. By shipping crude oil to this port on the Mediterranean, the BTC pipeline will sidestep the congested Bosphorus straits, which many environmental groups already cite as a potential ecological disaster in waiting. But well before the first drop of Azeri oil has made its way to Ceyhan, environmental concerns have been raised about the safety of the pipeline in Turkey. In June, 2004 a group of former BP contractors detailed a catalog of problems they had witnessed during the construction of the pipeline, including failed welding, safety violations, and damaging environmental impacts on communities located along the pipeline's route. The whistleblowers also implicated BOTAS, Turkey's government-owned energy company, for poor management of the pipeline's construction within Turkey.

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The billions of dollars associated with the pipeline may not reach those along its route.
For its part, BP has invested $37 million in its Environmental and Community Investment Programs to improve its relations with the communities affected by the pipeline. In Turkey these projects aim to create sustainable development in rural areas, build infrastructure, and teach important skills such as animal husbandry techniques to impoverished communities. But according to one report, a group of fisherman in Incirli, a village located just north of the BOTAS terminal in Ceyhan, expect the pipeline to bring few improvements to their area. They blame the marine terminal for ruining the fishing in their part of the Bay of Iskunderun, and share concerns that the expanded development of the facility will bring increased urbanization and social blight to their area. In addition, though the building of the pipeline has employed as many as 14,000 workers along the length of its route, few long-term jobs are expected to remain for local residents after the construction phase is completed.

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