And its environmental problems

The Caspian Sea region has abundant oil and gas reserves, but a limited accessible market for the products. Today, TRACECA is considered as a corridor, which is complementing other existing routes. The European Union considers Georgia as a partner in the development of the transport networks between the Black Sea and Central Asia because of its geopolitical position. Georgia participates in 19 of the 35 projects undertaken in the regional program TRACECA. The probability of failures in the oil transport pipelines increases with the age of the pipelines in service, and with the extent of their network. For example, 250 ruptures, which were accompanied by spillages of the transferred products, occurred every year from 1973 to 1983 in the US pipeline network, which has a total length of about 250,000 km. In West Europe it has been found that 10-15 leakages happen every year in a pipeline network of around 16,000 km length, resulting in a loss of 0.001% of transferred products (Davitashvili, 2004). At present, the Western Export Pipeline route (WEP) with diameter 530 mm is transporting up to 800 m3 of oil per hour from the expanded Sangachal terminal near Baku, through Georgia to the Supsa terminal. In 1993, 80% of WEP was destroyed. All the oil contained in the oil pipeline was spilled onto the ground. During a single day, about four oil railway transports cross the territory of Georgia, each of them transporting about 1,000 t of oil products. According to official data from the Georgian Department of Railway Transport, between 1979 and 2000 there were six big accidents connected with the transportation of oil by rail (Davitashvili et al., 2005).

Data on accidents, received from the Georgian Railway Department, allows us to analyze some statistical characteristics of the space-time distribution of these phenomena. Investigations have shown that the probability of small accidents corresponding to 10 t and the probability of large disasters corresponding to more than 1,000 t are almost equal. But the probability of middle sized accidents of 100-500 t of spilled oil, is five to six times higher than for small and large accidents (Davitashvili, 2004).

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