Leaders of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia gathered in the southern Turkish province of Adanaon on Thursday and formally inaugurated the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, Turkey's semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.
Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian President Mihail Saakashvili as well as ministers from 31 countries attended the ceremony in the Ceyhan town of Adana.
Security measures were beefed up during the event as some 10, 000 police and gendarmes deployed at the Adana Sakirpasa Airport and along the route to the event, said the report.
The BTC oil pipeline, dubbed "the project of the century" in Turkey, is designed to bring Caspian oil to western markets and diversify the energy sources of European countries.
The 1,760 km-long pipeline, which started being built in September 2002, has a daily transport capacity of 1 million barrels of oil and will transport crude oil from the Azeri-Chirag- Guneshli oil field in the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea area.
The pipeline, costing approximately 3.9 billion U.S dollars, lies across 445 km of Azerbaijan, 245 km of Georgia and 1,070 km of Turkey.
After the pipeline becomes operative, 8 percent of commercial oil in the world will pass from Turkey and an annual income of nearly 300 million dollars will be garnered from the pipeline.
The first Azeri oil was transported to Ceyhan Haydar Aliyev Terminal, one of the world's largest crude oil plants built in Ceyhan, on May 28.
The pipeline will make Ceyhan an important center for the international oil market and contribute to environmental safety of the Istanbul Strait by easing the traffic in the waterway, according to Anatolia.