Azerbaijani minister: Documents on Trans-Caspian gas pipeline to be prepared (UPDATE)
The details were added (the first version was posted at 14:02)
Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 6 / Trend E. Mehdiyev, E. Ismayilov /
Two documents, which must be signed at the level of the Azerbaijani, Turkmen president, head of the European Commission and the governments of the two Caspian-littoral countries, are being prepared within the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, Azerbaijani Minister of Industry and Energy Natiq Aliyev told media today.
He said that the first document which must be signed by the Azerbaijani, Turkmen presidents and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, 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 expresses its support for the project implementation. That is, 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.
The negotiations on the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline between Turkmenistan, the EU and other countries have been held since late 1990s of the last century.
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, later, Iran and Russia expressed their negative attitude to the project. Tehran and Moscow think that the pipeline construction may damage the Caspian Sea's ecology.
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 field "Shah Deniz", is being considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor projects.