The Southern Caucasus - Eastern Turkey energy corridors are formed by several critical pipelines carrying crude oil and natural gas from Azerbaijan, via Georgia, to Turkey and world markets. The two most important pipelines are the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Crude Oil Pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (BTE) Natural Gas Pipeline. At 1,768km, the BTC pipeline is one of the great engineering endeavours of the 21st century, It has a capacity to export one billion barrels of oil a day. Damage to a pipeline due to a large earthquake in one of the countries would affect directly and indirectly all the other countries that the pipeline serves, impacting large geographic regions and disrupting global economies. To our knowledge, none of these pipelines has ever been evaluated comprehensively (other than the standard code-based design studies) for their seismic safety and risk. None of the pipelines has any type of seismic monitoring system.
NATO SFP project “Seismic Hazard and risk Assessment for Southern Caucasus – Eastern Turkey Energy Corridors” aims to improve this situation by performing a comprehensive seismic hazard and risk study for the pipelines. The primary goals of the project are: (1) to assess the seismic hazard in Azerbaijan, Georgia and North Eastern Turkey; (2) to evaluate the seismic safety of the pipelines; (3) to develop efficient seismic risk monitoring and mitigation strategies; and (4) to improve environmental security in this part of the world.
The project is ongoing and at this stage a comprehensive seismic hazard study was performed for the zone of BTJ pipeline (within a 10 km buffer). On the basis of obtained data for each area's seismic sources, probabilistic seismic hazard maps were calculated. Results indicate a maximum PGA of 0.7g, and a maximum Intensity IX on the Abul fault zone and the Dmanisi fault zone, respectively.
New site classification maps were developed for the study region using geo-engineering maps and Vs30 that were calculated by seismic prospecting methods along pipelines in 30 places. Site responses to seismic events were calculated along “hot spots” of the pipeline where the pipeline technical characteristics (such as pumps, gauges, and kinks), or geological conditions, change drastically. Procedures for seismic hazard assessment (PSHA) disaggregation was studied for these “hot spots” and, based on the results, a deterministic seismic hazard for an earthquake scenario of intensity Ms = 7 at an epicentaral distance of 3km for the most vulnerable site was also conducted. Results show a maximum PGA of 0.56g for this site.