AGRI has chances to be reality in long term prospect

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 21 / Trend A.Badalova/

Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania Interconnector (AGRI) has chances to be realized in long term perspective, Alexander Jackson, the analyst for political risk at Menas Associates in London, focusing on Caspian energy and political issues believes.

According to Jackson, in the short term prospect, Azerbaijan's efforts will be aimed at implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor.

"Azerbaijan's main priority right now is of course the Southern Corridor using pipeline gas," Jackson wrote Trend via e-mail.

According to Jackson, AGRI is considered to transport significant volume (up to eight billion cubic meters), however, expert believes that this is not a game-changing amount when we consider the Southern Corridor, which will start at 16 bcm and could reach even 30 bcm.

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 directed towards covering the needs of Romania and other European countries.

The participants in the AGRI project are the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), the Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation, as well as the MVM Company (Hungary) and Romgaz (Romania).

AGRI project is now at the stage of development of feasibility study.
A feasibility study of the project is being prepared by British engineering company Penspen, which was determined based on a tender.

With regard to the possibility of LNG projects to compete with the gas pipeline projects, Jackson said that in Europe generally, LNG may start to compete with pipeline gas soon, but, according to the expert, the volumes are still quite small, relative to the amount of pipeline gas that Europe receives.

"It will take a lot of time before LNG can really compete. Also LNG is a much more liquid market, so prices may be higher in Europe than for piped gas," Jackson said.

According to the estimates of analysts at the U.S. bank JP Morgan, global LNG growth averaged approximately 15 percent in 2011.

According to the analysts' bull case scenario, LNG demand in Europe will grow from 68 million tons per annum in 2013 to 72 million tons in 2014, 78 million tons in 2015, 86 million tons in 2016, 94 million tons in 2017 and 99 million tons per annum in 2018.

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