Oil's journey from beneath the earth's surface to consumer usage takes many different routes. The various oil sites determine the equipment used, the businesses involved, environmental factors, political decisions, and the flow of huge amounts of money.
BTC Pipeline (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan)
Crude oil traverses the 1,760 km BTC pipeline.
Extracted from the Caspian Sea’s vast oil fields.
They are estimated to hold over 5 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
Many feel that the wealth generated by tapping Azerbaijan’s oil for Western markets will directly benefit the people of Azerbaijan.
However, some fear a syndrome known as “Dutch disease”
Large influx of wealth, especially from natural resources exploitation, negatively impacts other aspects of a nations economy.
The region’s inhabitants are ethnic Armenians.
The Armenians that control have proclaimed it a republic and demand autonomy from the Azeri government.
The pipeline passes as close as 15 kilometers.
The BTC will travel 2248 km in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
Georgia has been rife with internal conflict since gaining its independence in 1991.
The U.S. recognized the importance of maintain peace in Georgia.
The U.S. trained Georgian military
The longest section of the pipeline wends its way over 1,076 km to the marine terminal in Ceyhan.
Turkey has been denounced for its lackluster human rights record, limits on freedom of speech, and intolerance of political protest.
Because of the length of the pipeline and the possible environmental impact BP has invested $37 million in its Environmental and Community Investment Program.
In Turkey these projects aim to create sustainable development in rural areas, build infrastructure, and teach important skills
The most pressing problems for the BTC pipeline in Turkey can be found in the country’s predominantly Kurdish southeast.
The Kurds, a distinct ethnic group
Nomadic headers & devout Sunni Muslims
Approx. 20% of population
The Kurds have long struggled for greater independence and autonomy from Eurasian countries in which they reside.
The BTC pipeline will skirt the edge of Turkey’s southwest along its route to Ceyhan.
The BTC opened in 2006
Operator is BP
Maximum capacity is 1 million barrels a day.
Oil has been known to exist in Alaska since Russian explorers first noted oil seeps in cook Inlet in 1853.
In 1923 President Harding designated 23 million acres of wilderness in northern Alaska thought to contain extensive oil deposits as the Naval Petroleum reserve Number Four.
Tapping the oil in Prudhoe Bay posed significant challenges.
Inside the Arctic Circle
Long winters and icy waters
BP headed a consortium of oil companies to build and operate a mammoth pipeline.
The pipeline became locked up in U.S. courts.
Native American groups challenged the pipeline’s path.
Late in 1973 OPEC held oil embargo.
November President Nixon signed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.
The Trans-Alaskan Pipeline reached its peak production volume of 2.1 million barrels of oil per day in 1988.
The number has slipped to less than a million barrels a day.
The most oil-rich area left in America is the Coastal Plain region along the northern shore of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
Environmental issues made the issue a debate in Washington.
An oil tanker, also known as a petroleum tanker, is a merchant ship designed for the bulk transport of oil. There are two basic types of oil tankers: the crude tanker and the product tanker.
Tankers move approximately 2 billion metric tons of oil every year.
The world’s largest supertanker was built in 1979.
At full load draft could not navigate the English Channel.
Oil Tanker Mishaps, Tougher Laws
On March 24, 1989, Exxon’s tanker Valdez ran aground.
The Valdez spill would became a case study in how operator fatigue, environmental factors and faulty decision-making can mix for disastrous results.
The tanker gushed out nearly 11 million gallons of oil.
The slick killed countless birds, otters, and other marine life.
Viscous, foul-smelling oil coated coastline and covered 120 square miles of ocean around the tanker.
The biggest recent change to hit the supertanker industry is the transition from single-hull to double-hull construction.
The United states passed laws in 1990 to phase out single-hull tankers by 2015.
A cargo of a fully laden tanker can be worth tens of millions of dollars.
This fact has attracted the unwanted attention of pirates that attack tankers at sea and hold crews and cargo hostage for big ransoms.
2008: off of the coast of Kenya pirates sized a tanker which carried a payload of 2 million barrels of oil
The pirates demanded $25 million
The ransom was reduced to $15 million
Then reduced to $3 million. Five of the “dozens” of pirates after their small boat capsized in a storm after leaving the ship.
One body was found with $153,000 in cash in a plastic bag.