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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 August 2008, CAO received a complaint from a representative of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), signed by 31 residents of the village of Vale, regarding reinstatement of their land following completion of the BTC pipeline. The complaint claims that BTC Co. has not fulfilled the terms of its “Guide to Land Acquisition and Compensation”, which commits to undertaking a final inspection – together with the primary owners/users of the land – of the whole pipeline territory to ensure its proper reinstatement and suitability for agricultural activity. The complainants also question why BTC’s compensation calculations for certain plots are based on 2002 market prices, and are not commensurate with 2007-08 prices.
The CAO Ombudsman assessment revealed that the majority of the 31 signatoaries were unaware GYLA had filed the complaint with the CAO. The complainants' understanding was that GYLA was handling the complaint. GYLA told CAO the company had been unresponsive and that the two sides were deadlocked, so in an effort to break the impasse GYLA transferred the cases to CAO. Like previous cases regarding BTC's land reinstatement activities, these complaints involved multiple parties and land parcles, each with different crops and impacts. According to BTC Co., all the complaints were being assessed and negotiated individually at the time the complaint was registered with CAO. CAO agreed to monitor and assist with the individual negotiations if requested, and in October 2009 the last of the 31 signatories to reach agreement with the company confirmed that a final settlement had been reached. The signed agreement was subsequently forwarded to CAO.
Case Status: Closed
CAO case story page: http://www.cao-ombudsman.org/cases/case_detail.aspx?id=73