EDF's joining South Stream does not reduce chances of Southern Gas Corridor

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 19 / Trend E. Ostapenko /
French EDF's joining the South Stream project will provide the project with more economic expediency. But this does not mean that it has more chances for implementation than the Southern Gas Corridor project. These projects are not comparable, European expert on energy, John Roberts said.

"Green light" is required for implementing any project in political and commercial aspects. The South Stream project has a green light in a political aspect, but there is no green light in the commercial aspect. French EDF's involving is important as it improves the chances of commercial expediency.

The supplies of Azerbaijani gas to Europe through the Southern Gas Corridor projects have clear commercial expediency, John Roberts, Platts leading expert on energy said. Azerbaijan must decide which option is more rational to make supplies.
"The Southern Corridor and South Stream projects are radically different. While Azerbaijan knows that it needs to export gas from the rich Shah Deniz field, Russia decides where to send its gas resources, considering the "South Stream" as one of the options," he said.

Gazprom head Alexei Miller told about the fact that the French energy company EDF will enter the construction project of South Stream gas pipeline by late 2011. Russia's Gazprom and Italy's Eni are implementing the project.

He said that the problem of "South Stream" is that it is unknown whether the project will be promoted by providers or gas consumers. Until now it was assumed that the project will be financed by Gazprom. An estimated project cost is 25 billion euros.

The South Stream project is being implemented to diversify the supply routes of natural gas to European consumers. It involves the construction of a gas pipeline through the Black Sea to the South and Central Europe. Presumably, the capacity of the project will be accelerated gradually. The total design capacity of the offshore section of South Stream will reach 63 billion cubic meters a year.

The South Stream gas pipeline envisages gas delivery from Russia to South and Central Europe via the Black sea bottom. The gas pipeline is scheduled to function in 2015. Maximal design capacity of the gas pipeline is 63 billion cubic meters a year. The cost of the project is 25 billion euro.
The Southern Corridor project has a clear commercial purpose now. It allows not to doubt about its implementation. The only question is the form of its implementation.

"As European commercial companies, manufacturing companies (such as SOCAR, BP) and the EU agree in the political aspect that Azerbaijani gas must be exported to the West through the Southern Corridor project," Roberts said.

Regarding the form, it is still unknown whether it will be "Nabucco", or it will be an entirely new pipeline to the Georgian-Turkish border, or some combination of existing and new pipelines, as it was requested by the European Union, the expert said.

"The form of implementing the Southern Corridor projects will mainly depend on the commercial estimation of each individual project or evaluating the possible appearing of a new project by Azerbaijani company SOCAR," Roberts said.
The Southern Corridor is a priority EU energy project diversifying energy supply routes and sources and increasing EU energy security. The Southern Corridor includes the Nabucco gas pipeline, Trans Adriatic Pipeline, White Stream, and ITGI.

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