The UK’s Kvaerner John Brown, along with the local Tekfen has submitted the lowest price of about $1.4 million for feasibility studies into the government’s proposed $2,000 million-2,500 million Caspian Sea pipeline project, according to sources in state pipeline agency Botas. The sources say an award could be made by the end of October, subject to World Bank approval.

The four bidders, all international companies with local partners, were:

Kvaerner John Brown Engineers & Constructors with Tekfen – $1.4 million

Germany’s PLE with Parmas – $1.9 million

Italy’s Snamprogetti with Tumas Muhendislik – $3 million

the US’ Brown & Root with Bayindir Holding – $4.3 million

The World Bank has agreed to lend $5 million towards feasibility studies for the scheme to export Central Asian crude via a pipeline across Turkey to a terminal in the eastern Mediterranean (MEED 27:9:96).

The Botas sources said the studies will take about a year. However preliminary findings could be ready before Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), the operating consortium for a massive oil concession on the Caspian Sea, makes a decision on the main oil export route.

The World Bank has also indicated it would be prepared to provide finance for the Caspian pipeline if the studies showed it to be feasible on economic, security and environmental grounds. In spring the government decided to concentrate its efforts on the pipline as a means of transporting oil from the Caspian and elsewhere in Central Asia. The decision followed a rejection by the AIOC of an offer of $139 million in Turkish funding for a route through Georgia to Soupsa on the Black Sea.