FACTBOX: Georgia’s importance as an energy transit state

(Reuters) – Georgia, where government forces fought pro-Russian separatists on Friday, is an energy highway to the West with two major pipelines routed via the capital Tbilisi.

Georgia and other transit states have an obligation to ensure the security of the pipelines, which follow similar routes and carry oil and gas from the Azeri section of the Caspian Sea.

From Tbilisi, the links head south into Turkey, away from the breakaway South Ossetia region, the scene of the fighting.

They are particularly valued by the European Union because they reduce dependency on Russian supplies and do not cross Russian territory.

But exports of gas and oil have been disrupted following a blast in Turkey earlier this week.

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for the attack.

* THE BAKU-TBILISI-CEYHAN PIPELINE – The BP-led pipeline was opened in 2006.

It can pump up to one million bpd of Azeri crude along the 1,040 mile route to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. It is the first pipeline to carry large volumes of crude from the Caspian without going through Russia.

* The BAKU-TBILISI-ERZURUM PIPELINE – Also known as the Shakh-Deniz Pipeline, takes gas from the Shakh Deniz gasfield in the Caspian Sea to Erzurum in Turkey. It is jointly operated by BP and StatoilHydro. It began exports to Turkey in 2007 and will eventually be able to carry 20 billion cubic meters of gas.

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