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The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil and gas pipeline is a 1,768 km long crude oil pipeline stretching from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. It is the second longest oil pipeline in the world and passes through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. IFC has invested $250 million since 2003 and the total project cost is approximately $3.6 billion. The project is operated by BTC Co., which comprises a consortium of 11 partners. To date, CAO has received 33 complaints in relation to the project ranging from individuals to communities to local organizations. In May 2004, the CAO received seven complaints related to the BTC pipeline project in Georgia, filed by a Georgian NGO named Green Alternative on behalf of affected residents. Among the complaints was a claim from residents of Dgvari, who alleged that BTC did not assess the effects of pipeline construction in the locality, which was an area prone to severe landslides. Complainants further asserted that BTC’s mitigation measures were inadequate.
CAO accepted the complaint for further assessment on June 8, 2004, and released an assessment report in September 2004. CAO found it unlikely that pipeline construction would change the landslide risks in the area, and that BTC Co. had considered landslide risks in the region. CAO also found that Dgvari residents had not been directly consulted during the preparation of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and that BTC Co. should have done so early in the process. In response to the CAO report, BTC Co. made studies available that demonstrated their consideration of landslide risks in the region. CAO further recommended that BTC Co. include Dgvari residents in the monitoring of landslide risks.
Case Status: Closed
In a decision unrelated to the complaint submitted to the CAO, British Petroleum provided the government of Georgia with up to $1 million in assistance funds for the resettlement of Dgvari residents. BTC Co. was not directly involved with the resettlement process. Given that this development superseded the CAO recommendations, CAO closed the complaint on February 8, 2005.
CAO case story page: http://www.cao-ombudsman.org/cases/case_detail.aspx?id=50