Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 24
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
To create the Southern Gas Corridor, which will provide the transportation of Azerbaijani gas to European markets, is imperative, Bulgarian News Agency BTA reported citing Bulgarian former energy minister Traicho Traikov.
He said that Bulgaria should become part of the Southern Gas Corridor.
"We can expect to receive Azerbaijani gas when we have the required infrastructure," Traikov said.
"In the current situation, which is so dynamic as the cards are being re-dealt, it is almost compulsory for Bulgaria to seek a new place for itself," Traikov said.
He believes that, up to a certain moment, Bulgaria was in a position to derive economic benefits from the South Stream gas pipeline.
"Eventually, due to the way the negotiations were conducted and because the project grew more expensive, it became unlikely that the project company in which Bulgaria held a 50-percent stake would gain anything from the venture", he said.
The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for the EU. The project is aimed at diversification of routes and sources of energy supply and thereby increase EU's energy security.
It envisages the delivery of gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gas and condensate field to Europe.
The gas to be produced as part of the second stage of the field's development will be exported to Turkey and European markets through the expansion of the South Caucasus Pipeline and the construction of Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).
The first volume of gas from the Shah Deniz-2 will be delivered to Turkey in 2018 and Europe in 2019.
Azerbaijani gas is expected to be transported to Bulgaria via proposed IGB pipeline (Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria), which is proposed to connect with TAP.
In January, 2014, a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation was signed between TAP and ICGB - the company in charge of the development, financing and construction the IGB. The memorandum aimed at establishing the technical cooperation in order to further develop strategic infrastructure in the region.
In September, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) and Bulgaria's Bulgargaz signed a protocol of intentions, which envisages the beginning of negotiations on considering possibilities of earlier supplies of Azerbaijani gas to Bulgaria. According to Bulgarian media, the country plans to start importing 200-300 million cubic meters of gas from Azerbaijan per year from 2016.
Aygun Badalova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AygunBadalova