Azerbaijan claims it can fill Nabucco gas pipeline

Tue 19 Apr 2011 04:52 GMT | 08:52 Local Time

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Azerbaijan will be able to supply enough gas to fill the planned Nabucco pipeline to Europe, a senior official in state oil company SOCAR has said.

SOCAR is planning to increase gas production from the Shah Deniz gas condensate field alone to up to 25bn cubic metres by 2017, according to the company's first vice-president, Khoshbakht Yusifzade . 

Nabucco's planned capacity for 2017 is 26-32bn cu.m.

Azerbaijan has so far guaranteed to supply 10bn cu.m of gas to Nabucco, which will be sufficient for the first stage of the pipeline's operation.

Nabucco's head of communications, Christian Dolezal, agrees that the company sees Azerbaijan as the main supplier for the pipeline.

He told the fifth Caspian Oil and Gas Energy and Transportation conference in Baku on Tuesday that talks were also under way on supplies from Iraq.

Dolezal commented on financing, a second challenge facing the pipeline alongside gas supply.

"The agreements on a Southern Energy Corridor signed between Azerbaijan and the European Commission can be seen as one of the first legislative foundations for Nabucco. The Nabucco shareholders are continuing talks with Azerbaijan and, depending on the outcome of the negotiations, a decision will be taken on project financing. We expect the decision to be taken by the end of the year," Dolezal said.

He said that Nabucco was holding talks with the International Finance Corporation and the European Investment Bank.

On construction, Dolezal said:

"We have completed detailed front-end engineering in Turkey and began front-end engineering work to the Georgian border this year. The consortium has held 150 public hearings on the project. We have to reach agreement with 300,000 land owners on laying the pipeline. We expect to have tackled all these issues by the end of the year."

Roland Kobia, the European Union's representative in Baku, told the conference that the EU saw Azerbaijan as a link in the Southern Corridor project.

"Europe's demand for gas is growing and we are, therefore, interested in new suppliers and Azerbaijan is one of these important suppliers."

Commenting on Russia's stance on the Nabucco project, Kobia said Moscow should give up Cold War sterotypes.

"We live in a globalized world and the EU and sovereign countries decide on their relations themselves. We respect the sovereign right of Azerbaijan and other countries."

Kobia said, however, that Russia remained a main EU partner on energy.

"We are against monopolies in the markets and will, therefore, support all alternative projects."




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