Trans-Caspian gas pipeline remains basic premise for AGRI project implementation

Oil&Gas Materials 20 May 2011 19:25 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 20 /Trend, A.Badalova/

Turkmenistan's interest in the AGRI project could increase the attractiveness of this project, but the main precondition remains a solution for transporting Turkmen gas across the Caspian, said chief editor of Eurasia Energy Observer online medium Andrej Tibold.

Tibold said Turkmenistan has changed its 'gas rhetorics' towards the EU in the past years.
"If in 2009 Turkmenistan was only prepared to sell its gas at its borders and for the rest left it up to the buyers how to get the Turkmen gas to the EU, now it is actively showing interest in the construction of the Trans-Caspian pipeline," said Tibold.

Last week the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at a meeting with Romanian President Traian Basescu announced readiness to cooperate with the EU in gas sector. The President called "an important condition for mutually beneficial energy cooperation the political will of the parties involved, which should be framed as an agreement between the EU, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan". During his visit to Romania, the President of Turkmenistan has also expressed interest in his country's participating in the AGRI pipeline project (Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania Interconnector).

The AGRI project envisages transporting Azerbaijani gas via pipelines to the Black Sea coast of Georgia, where the gas will be liquefied at a special terminal. The gas will then be delivered to a terminal at the Romanian port of Constanta via tankers. Later, the liquefied gas will be brought into the state of natural gas and will be directed towards covering the needs of Romania and other European countries. It is expected that Turkmenistan, participating in the project as a supplier, could supply liquefied natural gas across the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan for further transit to Europe.

Tibold said the fact that Turkmenistan for the first time has mentioned its interest in AGRI, also Turkmen statements about closer cooperation with the EU is another indication that Turkmenistan is eager to reach the EU market.
Nevertheless, Tibold believes that it will probably not prompt to resolve the Trans-Caspian pipeline issue in the foreseeable future.

However, the Nabucco Gas Pipeline International is optimistic about the issue of construction of Trans-Caspian pipeline which is regarded as an integral part of the Nabucco project designed to transport natural gas from the Caspian region and the Middle East to the EU.

"We are very optimistic that a Trans-Caspian pipeline will be also realized after Nabucco has firm supply commitments from the suppliers," Christian Dolezal, official representative of Nabucco project, told Trend earlier.

The 300-kilometer Trans-Caspian gas pipeline gas pipeline will be laid from the Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan where it will join to the transportation routes of the Southern Energy Corridor. Talks between Turkmenistan and the European Union and other countries on the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline have been conducted since late 90s. Its construction is now difficult because of the unresolved issue of the status of the Caspian Sea.