EU considers conditions for Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline agreement as favourable

EU considers conditions for Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline agreement as favourable

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Nov. 20
By Huseyn Hasanov - Trend:

Representatives of the European Union (EU) have expressed confidence that at this point favourable conditions have been created to conclude an agreement for the construction of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan.

"The Trans-Caspian pipeline is principal and the European Union (EU) believes there are now the most favourable conditions for reaching agreements and beginning construction," the European Union's Charge d'Affaires ad interim in Turkmenistan, Denis Daniilidis said on Nov. 20.

Daniilidis made the remarks at the Oil and Gas Conference being held in Ashgabat on November 19-21.

"During the negotiations we need to resolve a few remaining issues and the first pipeline may be built before the completion of the Southern Gas Corridor," he underscored.

According to Daniilidis, the EU and Turkmenistan are in the final stage of negotiations.

In his report, the EU representative noted that the Southern Gas Corridor, which includes the Trans-Caspian project, remains a priority for Brussels. This was confirmed at the EU summit held in May 2013, during which key infrastructure energy projects for 2014-2020 were approved.

As the interested sides earlier noted, the project for construction of a 300km gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan through the Caspian Sea is one of the best options for linking Turkmen resources to the European market. After this Turkmen fuel may get into Turkey which borders with European countries.

The Trans-Caspian project may become part of several larger ones including AGRI and TANAP, in which Ankara and Baku are actively participating. Ashgabat believes that the agreement of the parties whose territory is covered by the project (Turkmenistan and Ashgabat), is sufficient for laying pipes under the Caspian Sea.

Azerbaijan expressed its readiness to provide its own territory, transit opportunities and infrastructure for the project, as previously representatives of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) indicated at an energy conference in Ashgabat.

Turkmenistan which exports its gas to Russia, China and Iran, is interested in the European markets for reasons of diversification of energy flows.

Turkmenistan with its reserves can claim to be one of the key suppliers of hydrocarbons and Ashgabat's efforts in this direction are noticeable. Observers note that Turkmenistan has not simply declared its readiness to bring fuel to the borders of the Caspian Sea to get closer to Europe, but has also taken concrete steps in this sphere.

The construction of the East-West gas pipeline worth $2 billion has been initiated in the country. Its task is to unite the reserves of the country's eastern region (Galkynysh) and the adjacent fields with the Caspian coast, where by constructing a pipeline to Azerbaijan, the country may enter the European market via Turkey.

Turkmen President, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, speaking in October in Ashgabat at the OSCE high-level meeting on energy security, said Turkmenistan is holding talks with Azerbaijan, Turkey and the EU on the possibility of supplies of Turkmen gas to Europe.

The president said that, "an effective form of cooperation with the EU was created"and at this stage substantive works are underway to establish a legal framework for the implementation of the project on natural gas supplies from Turkmenistan to Europe, as well as a joint trilateral commission is working to this end.

Issues of Turkmenistan's energy cooperation with the EU were touched upon during a visit of the President of European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso to Ashgabat in January 2011. Talks on the Trans-Caspian Project between the EU, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan started in September, 2011.

In July 2013, after the summit talks in Ashgabat, a framework agreement on cooperation on the delivery of Turkmen natural gas to Turkey and further to Europe was also signed between the governments of Turkmenistan and Turkey.

The Turkmen leadership has repeatedly stated its readiness to conduct an environmental impact assessment with the participation of international experts. As is known, Russia and Iran speaking against the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, raise questions about the environmental safety of its construction.

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