Azerbaijan, Baku, March 7 / Trend A.Akhundov /
The Greek government supports the choice of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project as a route for the export of Azerbaijani gas to Europe, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Dimitrios Kourkoulas said at a press conference on the outcome of his visit to Azerbaijan.
TAP project is designed to transport gas from the Caspian region via Greece and Albania and across the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy and further into Western Europe.
TAP's support by the Greek government was stated at a meeting of the delegation led by Dimitrios Kourkoulas with the Minister of Industry and Energy Natig Aliyev, Shah Deniz consortium participants and SOCAR president Rovnag Abdullayev.
"Azerbaijan has expressed its satisfaction with strong political support for the project referring to a great job done within this project in a short period, the deputy minister said. He added that nevertheless, Azerbaijan continues to consider options for the choice of the final route for the pipeline to transport gas to Europe."
According to him, the TAP project is very beneficial for its participants and in particular with regards to the possibility of increasing capacity of the pipeline from 10 to 20 billion cubic meters a year.
The intergovernmental agreement between Italy, Greece and Albania, the Memorandum of Understanding with TANAP (Trans-Anatolian pipeline), the agreement on cooperation, financing and the shareholders agreement with partners in the development of Azerbaijani gas condensate field Shah Deniz (BP, SOCAR and Total ) were signed in 2012.
Gas to be produced within the second phase of the Shah Deniz field development is considered as the main source for TAP.
TAP's shareholders are AXPO of Switzerland (42.5 per cent), Norway's Statoil (42.5 per cent) and E.ON Ruhrgas of Germany (15 per cent).
In the case of selection of TAP as a final pipeline route to transport Azerbaijani gas to Europe, the construction of the pipeline will start in 2015, whereas first gas production is expected for 2018.
Currently, the Shah Deniz consortium is considering two options for its gas transportation to Europe - TAP and Nabucco West (through the territory of Greece).
Deputy Minister of Greece also stressed that the Greek government welcomes the participation of SOCAR in the tender for privatization of the Greek gas company DEPA and finds it to be a positive factor.
The winner of the tender for privatization of DEPA will be decided in April-May 2013. The main interest of Azerbaijani company to participation in privatization is based on the fact that the Greek DEPA operates gas distribution networks and performs other gas operations in Greece.
The contract to develop the offshore Shah Deniz field was signed on June 4, 1996. Participants to the agreement are: BP (operator) - 25.5 per cent, Statoil - 25.5 per cent, NICO - 10 per cent, Total - 10 per cent, Lukoil - 10 per cent, TPAO - nine per cent and SOCAR - 10 per cent.