Azerbaijan, Baku, June 8 / Trend /
Aygun Badalova, Trend commentator
Azerbaijan opened way for its gas in the western direction by signing gas deal with Turkey this week. The agreement, which includes the gas transit from Azerbaijan through Turkey, is an important condition for future filling of the Southern Corridor gas pipeline projects with Azerbaijani gas.
Great importance is attached to this agreement by the parties themselves, as well as representatives of projects such as Nabucco and TAP, which has repeatedly called on Azerbaijan and Turkey to reach an early agreement on this issue. Signing gas agreement between Azerbaijan and Turkey paves the way for further development of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline project, the project participants stated.
"Memorandum on the gas transit is important to address the needs of Turkey and meet the energy needs of Europe," Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz said.
Azerbaijan, which is of great importance for Europe in terms of diversification of gas supply, and which has repeatedly stated its interest to supply fuel to EU, had several options for supply routes to European countries.
Particularly, the country considers projects within the Southern Corridor, such as Nabucco, TAP and ITGI (Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline). All these projects consider the Azerbaijani gas, mainly, the gas produced under the Shah-Deniz-2 project as a potential source for filling. However, the lack of investment decisions on the projects delay the beginning of talks with the shareholders.
SOCAR representative said Azerbaijan's choice will depend on the results of the analysis of proposals and conditions that will be provided by the Southern Corridor projects to gas producers. Regarding the agreement signed between Azerbaijan and Turkey gas deal, the SOCAR representative said that it specifies the possibility of gas supplies to Europe.
The gas transit agreement opens a new opportunity for Azerbaijan, when the country can play not a supplier role, but gas transporter. The matter deals with possibility of Turkmen gas supplies via Azerbaijan, which the Italian company Eni recently proposed to the Azerbaijani side. The project, proposed by the Italian company, involves the supply of 8.6 billion cubic meters of compressed natural gas across the Caspian Sea via vessels, its decompression in Azerbaijan and further transportation to Europe.
Azerbaijan voiced its readiness to provide its infrastructure for gas transit through its territory on favorable conditions, but as the SOCAR representative previously stated, one of the open questions in this project is the selection of the pipeline that is which route will transport to Europe the gas after its decompression in Azerbaijan.
Gas produced from the Shah Deniz field is transported to Georgia and Turkey via the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP). The pipeline could serve as entry point of Turkmen gas transportation via Azerbaijan to Turkey and further via one of the planned gas pipeline South Corridor. However, the pipeline's capacity at 20 billion cubic meters may be insufficient, given the volume of the Azerbaijani gas transported through it.
All these projects have a lot of uncertainty and require resolution of a number of issues today. But, Azerbaijan, doubtless, is an important player in them. The agreement signed with Turkey opens up several opportunities for the country and makes the Azerbaijani gas closer to the European market.
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