Georgia: BTC Pipeline-19/Atskuri
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 May 3, 2005, the CAO received a confidential complaint alleging that construction traffic vibration caused damage to a 1st Century temple with significant cultural and religious significance.
The CAO accepted the complaint on June 13, 2005. As a result of a number of other villages along the pipeline route filing similar complaints related to construction vibration, CAO included the Atskuri temple case in a collective assessment of vibration-related complaints. In response to the collection of vibration-related complaints, CAO recommended an independent study to assess whether vibration from blasting and construction traffic may have caused damage to the claimants’ buildings. In August 2005, BTC Co. commissioned an independent study. The study concluded that although there were shortcomings in the adequacy of the traffic vibration monitoring when compared with international standards, construction traffic was unlikely to have caused the cracking to the buildings.
After reviewing the study’s results and comparing them to other similar studies around the world, CAO concurred with the findings of the independent study, and determined that no further progress could be made toward resolution of the claim. CAO closed the complaint on June 16, 2006.