Ankara expects Azerbaijan to join gas export project soon
The agreement signed by the governments of Turkey, Greece and Italy in July 2007 to build a pipeline to ship gas from the Caspian region and Central Asia to European markets will be joined by Azerbaijan soon, and a new contract will be inked, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Hilmi Guler, has said.
Guler said in parliament during discussions on the country’s 2009 state budget that the conduit, to be commissioned in 2013, will pump 12 billion cubic meters of gas a year. 3.6bcm of the volume is to be transported to Greece and 8.4bcm to Italy.
The inter-governmental agreement will allow to ship gas produced from Azerbaijan’s biggest field, Shahdaniz. The US government earlier welcomed the deal, describing it as a cornerstone of joint efforts by all three countries, with strong US and EU support, to help Europe diversify its sources of natural gas supplies from the Caspian Sea.
Guler went on to say that work was under way on another key energy export project -- the NABUCCO pipeline seeking to export Caspian gas to Europe, which is of great importance to Turkey and the European Union.
The NABUCCO project, worth 8 billion euros, envisions supplies of Azerbaijani and Turkmen gas to energy-thirsty European markets bypassing Russia, through a 3,300-kilometer pipeline traveling through Azerbaijan and Turkey to Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria. 1,558 km of the pipeline goes through Turkish territory. So far, only Azerbaijan has agreed to transport its gas via NABUCCO. The conduit is to be commissioned in 2013.
Further, the Turkish minister emphasized that the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (BTE) pipeline, which stretches to Turkey, is the basis for all major gas projects. 3.8bcm of gas has been imported through the conduit from Azerbaijan, so far, he said.
Guler said Caspian hydrocarbon reserves play an important role in global energy security. He noted that over 500 million barrels of crude have been exported through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, which extends to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, since June 2006.
Guler added that work was under way to bring output via the route to 1.6 million bpd.*