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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. On June 24, 2005, CAO received a complaint from residents of Tsemi village, alleging that BTC Co. operations had significantly impacted their drinking water, which subsequently led to a drop in tourism and revenues to families in the area.
CAO began assessing the complaint on August 25, 2005, and traveled to Tsemi to meet with stakeholders. A negotiated agreement between the parties included the following actions:
• A billboard advertising Tsemi was placed near the village. Additional billboards advertising the wider Borjomi region were also displayed in Tbilisi, Gori and Kutaisi. A full-page advertisement for the area was placed in the Georgian magazine "Sarke" for one week. BTC Co. sponsored this advertising.
• BTC replaced nearly all of Tsemi’s temporary plastic water pipe system (which was on the surface awaiting ground-thaw) with new pipe that is now buried. Construction of a new permanent head facility was completed in October 2006. An inspection of the completed system was carried out in November 2006 by representatives of BP, the Contractor and village representatives. BTC donated the requisite 1.2 km of temporary plastic pipe to the village. Design of the system was reviewed and agreed to by villagers and Gamgabeli (the Mayor), who signed a final agreement. BTC also delivered 2 additional km of water pipe to the village for its distribution system (as per the villagers’ request) in late July 2006.
Case Status: Closed
CAO closed the case in December 2006
CAO case story page: http://www.cao-ombudsman.org/cases/case_detail.aspx?id=65