The Caspian Sea is rich in energy reserves, yet its landlocked position leaves it starved of direct access to world markets. During the 1990s, the two main pipelines exporting crude oil from the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian did not have the capacity to enable full development of the Azerbaijani offshore fields. To further complicate matters, the oil had to be transported by tanker through the already congested and environmentally sensitive Turkish Straits.
A BP-led consortium of international oil companies, BTC Co., devised the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyan pipeline, which would run from Azerbaijan via Georgia to Turkey. At almost 1800 km, it would become the second largest oil pipeline in the world at that time.
RSK was commissioned to undertake the environmental impact assessment component of an environmental and social impact assessment of the 443-km section of the BTC pipeline within Azerbaijan.
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