TotalFinaElf has signed an agreement with the Sponsor Group of the BTC Pipeline Project which links Baku in Azerbaijan to Ceyhan in Turkey. This agreement gives it the right to acquire a 5% share in the Pipeline Company at project sanction. TotalFinaElf is involved in large exploration and production projects in the Caspian Sea area where hydrocarbon transportation is a key business driver for the oil and gas activities. The Group has consistently made clear its support of the development of multiple export routes for the crude oil produced in the Caspian area in order to increase security of export, stimulate competitiveness and provide access to a variety of markets.
The decision to join the Sponsor Group of the BTC is thus part of this strategy and would give TotalFinaElf access, once the project is sanctioned, to export capacity for part of its future production from the Caspian Area, notably Kazakhstan. The BTC pipeline will be the second major export pipeline following the recent start of the CPC (Caspian Pipeline Consortium) operations in the northern part of the region. TotalFinaElf believes that other major export lines will also be necessary notably toward the Arab-Persian Gulf in order to provide access to the Asian markets.
Russia has left the list of 33 largest holders of US government bonds, after the country disposed of at least a third of remaining bonds