EU looks for possibility to hold trilateral meeting on Trans-Caspian pipeline

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 26
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

The European Commission is looking for the possibility to hold trilateral format meeting on the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project, a source in the European Commission told Trend on February 26.

"Together with the respective counterparts from Azerbaijani and Turkmenistan the European Commission is looking into the possibility of holding a meeting in the trilateral format in the coming months," a source said, adding however that no date is confirmed yet.
The Trans-Caspian pipeline project is regarded as the optimal option for delivering Turkmen resources to European markets. The project envisages the laying of around 300 kilometers long gas pipeline under the Caspian to the shores of Azerbaijan. Further Turkmen can be transported to Turkey which has mutual borders with European countries.

The project may be implemented as a part of huge Southern Gas Corridor project designed to transport gas from the Caspian region to European countries. The gas to be produced within the second stage of Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field development is designed to open the Southern Gas Corridor.

The negotiations between the EU, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline began in September 2011. However Russia and Iran have always spoken against the Trans-Caspian pipeline due to ecological issues during the pipeline's construction. The unresolved status of the Caspian Sea has been regarded as the main factor hindering the implementation of the project.

The official position of Ashgabad regarding the project is that the consent of the countries whose territories are involved into the project is enough to build a pipeline. Azerbaijan has repeatedly expressed readiness to provide its territory, transit facilities and infrastructure for realizing the project.

Earlier this week the European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said that Europe intends to find a technical and legal basis for the Turkmen gas supply via Azerbaijan.

German media reported Feb. 23 that the EU intends to sign memorandums of understanding with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan as part of a package to improve the "stability" of providing Europe with gas in 2015. The EU intends to work out this package by 2016.

Turkmenistan ranks fourth in the world for the volume of natural gas reserve. This is while the reserve of the certain fields such as Galkynysh and Yashlar make up 26.2 trillion cubic meters.

The natural gas production in Turkmenistan exceeded 76 billion cubic meters, while the export of this fuel surpassed 45 billion cubic meters in 2014. The country plans to produce over 80 billion cubic meters of commercial gas in 2015.

Aygun Badalova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter:@AygunBadalova

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