EU Mandate to enable to design Trans Caspian Pipeline project: European Commission

Azerbaijan , Baku, Sept. 13 / Trend V.Zhavoronkova/

The European Union Mandate on Trans Caspian Pipeline System is a major step forward and it can be regarded as an impetus for the pipeline realization, the Energy Department of the European Commission said.

"This [mandate] is a major step forward, and now we can start formal negotiations and this will certainly be a push for the pipeline [Trans Caspian] to be built," Marlene Holzner, a spokesperson of EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, told Trend over a telephone from Brussels.

On Monday the EU has adopted a mandate to negotiate a legally binding treaty between the EU, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to build a Trans Caspian Pipeline System.

This is the first time when the EU has proposed a treaty in support of an infrastructure project.

The treaty will be concluded by the EU after decision by all 27 Member States that the European Commission should lead the negotiations on behalf of them all.

Holzner said the Mandate and Agreement will not include the Caspian border issues. "This issue should be dealt separately," she stressed.

"The Mandate is all about the pipeline project," Holzner added.

According to Holzner, it is the wish of all three parties to sit together to come to an international legal based agreement where the technical details of the pipeline will be set out. "The matter is where it starts, where it ends, how long it is."

"The mandate also touches project environmental issues, because the European Commission wants to have the highest environmental standard for the Trans Caspian gas pipeline," Holzner stressed.

The mandate will also include the principles of investor's protection, she added.

Holzner underlined that once this agreement has been ratified, the next step is to make the commercial agreement.

With regard to the discovery of big gas reserves on the Absheron field in Azerbaijani section of the Caspian Sea Holzner said 'it is good news'.

"We do hope as a European Union that we would get the substantial amount of gas that Azerbaijan has promised to sell us in a declaration that was signed in January this year by the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the President of European commission Jose Manuel Barroso," she underscored.

Holzner added that it is up to Azerbaijan to decide to whom it gives the gas and also what quantity of gas it is going to sell. "The newly discovered gas field is just another confirmation that Azerbaijan has substantial amount of gas' to sell to other partners," Holzner said.

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