Summer 2003 (11.2)
The New Pipeline
the New BTC Pipeline - CCIC at Work
by Juan Boulos
Left: David Woodward with Juan Boulos. Woodward is the
Associate President of BP in Azerbaijan which operates the Consortium
for the development of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oil fields (ACG)
which will feed into the BTC (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan) pipeline.
Juan Boulos is Senior Manager of CCIC (Consolidated Contractors
International Company) which was awarded the contract for building
the pipeline in Azerbaijan.
The following is a discussion with Juan Boulos of CCIC in regard
to constructing the new pipeline. CCIC has the responsibility
for the work that is being carried out in Azerbaijan
International Company (CCIC) won the much-coveted contract for
the construction of the new Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline.
Tell us what the scope of the project is for Azerbaijan.
We're very proud to have been awarded this project in Azerbaijan,
especially since it's the first project for CCIC here in this
country. Our responsibility at CCIC encompasses Engineering,
Procurement, Construction, Testing and Commissioning of the pipeline.
The Engineering aspect includes surveying the route, designing
the block and checking valve stations and crossings with existing
utilities, designing the camps and pipe yards.
The Procurement scope includes procurement of such things as
valves, pipe-fittings, flanges, cathodic protection, transformers
and transmitters. The Construction scope involves transporting
line pipe, storage, clearing of the Right-of-Way, trenching,
welding of pipeline, lowering the pipeline into the trenches,
testing the pipeline and reinstating the Right-of-Way. Commissioning
covers hydro testing, caliper pigging and air-drying to make
it ready to transport oil.
CCIC's activities are international in scope. Work is being carried
out in ten countries, spanning from Munich, Germany, where some
of the engineering is being done to Athens, Greece, where CCIC
is based and where the construction support is performed.
Our construction activities are not restricted to Azerbaijan
but also extend into Georgia, where we receive the line pipe
at the port of Poti. The line pipes are being stored until they
are required. At that time, they will be transported to the Right-of-Way
ready for placement and welding.
CCIC is building five construction camps along the route that
will serve as bases to support the work at the Right-of-Way itself.
Each will accommodate up to 1,250 workers. Full catering services,
recreation facilities, fabrication shops as well as offices and
accommodation for the workers will be set up.
An incredible amount of equipment will be used to construct the
pipeline including pipe-layers, bulldozers, excavators, graders,
cranes, compactors, air compressors, generators, welding machines,
state-of-the-art automatic/computerized welding machines, pumps,
trailers, trucks, buses, pick-ups and cars. In addition, there
will be very specialized equipment for horizontal directional
drilling and non-destructive testing.
To give you an idea of the size of the project, consider just
the number of vehicles that will be used on this project-150.
What is very important is that all the equipment must comply
to extremely high Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) specifications.
Left: First pipe coming off the train for the BTC pipeline,
CCIC is conducting a major recruitment drive. The majority of
the personnel will be recruited locally from the various regions
where the pipeline is being laid. The applicants who are hired
will be trained by HSE and the majority of personnel will receive
additional trade training, which will significantly increase
their job prospects in the future.
Pipeline projects invariably cross several regions: the BTC Pipeline
is no exception. It will cross 13 regions in Azerbaijan: Garadagh,
Absheron, Hajigabul, Aghsu, Kurdamir, Ujar, Aghdash, Yevlakh,
Goranboy, Samukh, Shamkhir, Tovuz and Aghstafa. In addition,
there will be a pipe yard and a construction camp in Ganja. There
are more than 80 communities that are located inclose proximity
to the route, and because of that, the project is being carefully
planned and implemented to minimize any potential negative impact
on any of these communities.
Though CCIC is new to Azerbaijan, it's one of the largest
construction companies in the world. What is its history?
CCIC was established in 1952 in the Middle East and has since
experienced steady and strong geographical expansion. As of today,
CCIC has completed work in more than 35 countries - including
the Middle East, Africa, Caribbean, Central America, U.S, U.K,
Italy, the Far East and the the CIS.
In parallel with the geographical expansion, CCIC has experienced
technological growth from simple civil and building projects
to roads, both onshore and offshore oil and gas facilities, networks,
power and desalination plants, marine works, offshore pipelines,
underwater construction, dams, water and environment engineering,
mega and complex oil & gas projects. This technical growth
gives CCIC a deep knowledge in construction management. CCIC
moved the value chain from simple construction projects to complete
EPC, O&M and BOT projects.
CCIC's main assets include a pool of talented people. Today we
employ more than 50,000 staff who come from more than 60 countries
around the world. We have a capable fleet of equipment, numbering
more than 8,000 pieces. We're known for our unique control and
monitoring systems, which are based on a strong and long history
of experience in the field of construction and a deep expertise
in construction management. These systems encompass the latest
state-of-the-art technologies and leading-edge techniques. News
Engineering Records has ranked CCIC as No. 1 in the Middle East
and No.14 among international contractors.
CCIC has a unique culture of family style corporate values. We
place great emphasis on developing local manpower through training
and nurturing. We're committed to the countries where we have
projects and we maintain this commitment by keeping our country
offices open even after the completion of projects. All these
characteristics equip us to take on the most challenging projects
in some of the most remote areas in the world.
You've had an office in Baku for the past three years. What
were you doing during that time?
CCIC was registered in Azerbaijan more than three years ago,
and we've retained our presence ever since then. We were here
to get to know Azerbaijan, to study the market and establish
contacts with potential clients. We felt it was very important
for us to develop an understanding and appreciation of local
culture and traditions. I've come to like Azerbaijan and its
people a lot. It's really a second home for me.
What's your own background and experience to equip you for
the immense responsibility of this job?
I graduated with a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering and started
my career in engineering. Later I earned a Masters in Business
Administration (MBA) and moved on to business-related fields.
This is the largest construction job that I've personally ever
been involved in. I think the most important thing that has equipped
me to handle the job is an in-depth knowledge that I have about
the local culture. Obviously, numerous situations have already
arisen on this project that were new to me and for which I wasn't
prepared. What I think is important is to be able adapt to these
situations and learn from them.
I'd say the most rewarding experience for me on this project
is working with local Azerbaijani staff. They've brought invaluable
knowledge, enthusiasm and insight to this project.
Tell us more about how CCIC is organizing the construction
As I mentioned earlier, we'll be constructing five construction
camps along the Right-of-Way of BTC Pipeline. Our first construction
camp at the Mughan settlement is almost finished now. These construction
camps are actually like small towns themselves; that's why we're
building them so that they are virtually self-sufficient.
For example, the electricity for these sites will be produced
there within the camp itself. We have purchased generators specifically
to supply electricity for the construction camps, thus avoiding
the use of large amounts of electricity from the local networks.
This eliminates the possibility of draining the current supply
to the regions.
Another example is the high environmental standards to which
the construction camps will be built and operated. We will procure,
install and operate, a high standard incinerator and a sewage
treatment plant to treat the waste and sewage produced at the
construction camps. This will prevent harm to the environment
through the disposal of untreated waste and sewage. Once the
construction camps are removed, the land will be re-instated
to a condition similar to what it was prior to construction.
One final thing to note is that the construction camps, the equipment,
facilities and personnel will be moving from one location to
the next. This becomes a huge logistics exercise.
How will the local communities benefit while the project is
going on? Is the BTC pipeline leaving a legacy for the communities,
and if so - specifically what?
The BTC Project places a major emphasis on social issues, particularly
trying to minimize the footprints of the projects on local communities
affected by the pipeline while maximizing the positive impacts.
We are following a well-thought out set of social commitments
in this project. For example, one of our goals is to employ a
majority of Azerbaijani nationals. Particular attention is being
paid to recruitment, not just from one, but from each of the
13 regions through which the BTC Pipeline passes or wherever
CCIC will have activities.
In each region, CCIC begins its activities by conducting a Public
Disclosure Meeting to introduce the BTC Pipeline Project and
explain what we will be doing in the region. At the same time,
we publicly announce the job positions that are available. In
each location we open a Project Information Center, which serves
as a point of contact between CCIC and the community.
The recruitment of personnel is carried out exclusively through
the Project Information Centers, and a standardized recruitment
process is being followed to identify the best-qualified personnel.
These same centers will serve as a facility where community members
can register their comments or complaints regarding CCIC's activities.
A system is in place for CCIC to review and respond to every
comment that is brought to our attention.
Each person who is recruited must go through a mandatory five-day
HSE Induction course, which includes a full day's training in
Basic First Aid. Already, CCIC has established these Trade Training
Centers in Baku, Mughan and Kurdamir, where most of the labor
force is being assessed for their skill level and trained for
various jobs. This is in line with the CCIC corporate policy
of integration with local communities and for developing local
Also CCIC is carrying out programs of community safety awareness
and community health awareness. The feedback from the communities
where this has been done has been very positive.
Another goal is to maximize local procurement. CCIC is working
closely with the Enterprise Center in Baku to identify potential
local subcontractors and local suppliers. So far, we have purchased
a wide range of products from more than 100 local suppliers such
as safety gear and equipment, computers, mobile phones, furniture,
stationery, water tanks, civil materials, fencing, electrical
materials, transformers, porta-cabins and other items. Personnel
of the local subcontractors who work on projects related to the
BTC Pipeline project also must receive thorough HSE training.
In addition, CCIC is carrying out its own extensive social investment
program. CCIC has distributed food parcels to Internally Displaced
Persons in Binagadi Settlement, and furniture, clothes, beds
and bedding, toys and audio systems to orphanages, kindergartens
and schools in Baku and the Sangachal Settlement. In April, CCIC
delivered the first shipment of 2,000 tents to the State Committee
for Refugees, which in turn, will distribute the tents to Internally
Displaced Persons in Azerbaijan. The total number of tents to
be donated by CCIC is 12,500 at a value of $300,000.
In Baku, furniture , bedding, toys, and audio systems have been
donated to a kindergarten and school in Sangachal. Also meat
parcels have been distributed in Sangachal and Mughan refugee
settlements. Tents also are being donated to some of the Internally
Displaced Persons (IDP). The total donation by CCIC for the tents
will total $300,000. There will be further social investment
programs that will take place in Azerbaijan.
The long-term benefits that will be felt by the local communities
after the completion of construction include: upgraded trade
skills through training, exposure to new business methods and
specific investment to social projects in the communities.
CCIC's legacy will be the construction for the BTC Pipeline in
Azerbaijan, which will have taken into account the concerns of
the local communities as one of its highest priorities.
In your opinion, what are the most important aspects of the
One of the most important aspects of the BTC Pipeline Project
is the implementation of very high Health, Safety and Environment
(HSE) standards. This represents a Step Change in the way construction
projects are carried out. HSE takes the highest priority: all
activities are designed and implemented to minimize such risks.
Every person who is employed or who will be employed for the
BTC pipeline project will receive training and be exposed to
HSE requirements and commitments, which he/she will carry with
him/her till the end of the project, and hopefully beyond.
To cater to the various nationalities of the people involved
in the project, the HSE training is being conducted in Azeri,
English, Russian and various other languages to ensure that the
very important message of HSE is clearly communicated. Even guests,
who go to the site for a one-day visit go through a shortened
version of the HSE training. We are committed to "no injury"
and "no damage" to the environment. A great deal of
effort expended in order to develop an Accident and Injury Free
Culture within the project.
Any final comments?
CCIC is very proud to have been chosen as the contractor to carry
out this project in Azerbaijan. It is a very demanding project
from every aspect. It must be completed by the third quarter
of 2004. But we have the talent, equipment and systems to meet
The vision, will and support of President of Azerbaijan Heydar
Aliyev was, and continues to be, instrumental in making the BTC
Pipeline project a reality. The BTC Pipeline is a major milestone
in the advancement of Azerbaijan, in particular, and to the Oil
and Gas Industry as a whole. The future potential for Azerbaijan
looks very bright.
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