Azerbaijani minister: Documents on Trans-Caspian gas pipeline to be prepared
Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 6 / Trend E. Mehdiyev, E. Ismayilov /
Two documents which must be signed at the level of the Azerbaijani, Turkmen presidents, head of the European Commission and the governments of the two Caspian-littoral countries, are being prepared within the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project, Azerbaijani Minister of Industry and Energy Natiq Aliyev told media today.
He said that the first document will support the corridor by three sides. The second document must be signed between the Azerbaijani and Turkmen governments.
"On this occasion, we have held meetings and one can say that the documents are ready," Aliyev said. "A few issues must be clarified."
He added that Turkmenistan expressed its support for the project implementation. This means the Turkmen side is ready to deliver around 30 billion cubic meters of gas for this project. Azerbaijan is ready to ensure all conditions for Turkmen gas transportation.
"That is Azerbaijan again supports its participation in the project and will be actively involved in this issue," minister said.
Aliyev added that the total cost of laying the gas pipeline in 1990s was estimated at $3 billion, but now the situation has been changed and the cost increased.
"Laying a gas pipeline section through the Caspian Sea bottom may require $1-2 billion," he said.
The minister said that the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline is an important project within the Southern Gas Corridor and the project was re-submitted to the agenda by the European Union.
Negotiations on the construction of the pipeline between Turkmenistan, the EU and other countries have been held since the late 1990s.
The negotiation process has been intensified after the European Union delivered a mandate to start negotiations on the preparation of an agreement between the EU, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on the Trans-Caspian project in September 2011.
However, Iran and Russia later expressed their negative attitude towards the project. Tehran and Moscow think the pipeline construction may damage the Caspian Sea's ecology.
The Southern Gas Corridor is a major energy project for the EU. It is designed to diversify the routes and sources of energy supply and aims to ensure EU energy security. The gas to be extracted in the second stage of developing Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field is being considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor projects.