Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar. 2
By Anakhanum Khidayatova - Trend:
The 'Southern Gas Corridor' is an initiative of Azerbaijan and a project of President Ilham Aliyev, Georgia's Ambassador to Azerbaijan Teymuraz Sharashenidze said in an interview with Trend on March 2.
He said the 'Southern Gas Corridor' is the most important project, to be realized in the 21st century, connecting the South Caucasus with Europe.
"This project can be called an uncontested alternative," he said.
The ambassador went on to add that the 'Southern Gas Corridor' will become an alternative to Russian gas supplies to Europe, and in this sense it has no rival.
"The 'Southern Gas Corridor' is also the energy security of the region and Europe," Sharashenidze said. "Most of the analysts and representatives of the EU have the same opinion.
He added that the project is invaluable, as it plays a most certain role in ensuring the region's security.
The diplomat further said the project costs $45 billion, while the construction of the Georgian section of the 'Southern Gas Corridor' stands at about $2 billion.
"Two compressor stations will be built in Georgia," he said. "All the design works have been carried out, and these issues are dealt by a working group of 700-750 people."
The ambassador said that over 4,500 pipes for the gas pipeline have been already shipped to the ports of Poti and Batumi
"The pace of work is increasing," the ambassador added.
Speaking about a possible competition between the 'Southern Gas Corridor' and 'Turkish Stream' projects, Sharashenidze said the former is already a formed and finished project having budget and operational authority, i.e. the consortium for construction.
He said the transit and consumer countries have been defined, and there are agreements on political level, as well as contracts between customers and contractors, and so on.
The diplomat said that today the 'Turkish Stream' is only an idea having no material support or customers, and no contract has been signed as part of it.
"It is difficult to compare an existing project with an idea," he said. "If this idea becomes a project, it will be possible to make comparison. But at the moment this is not possible."
The 'Southern Gas Corridor' 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).
On Dec. 1, 2014, during talks in Turkey, Russia's President Vladimir Putin announced the cessation of the project for the 'South Stream' gas pipeline, which was meant to run from Russia to Bulgaria.
A new project was immediately initiated. The project called the 'Turkish Stream' is meant for Turkey and consumers in the EU, which will be able to receive the volumes they want from the trading hub on the border between Turkey and Greece.
Russia's Sberbank announced on Jan. 23 its readiness to finance the construction of the 'Turkish Stream' gas pipeline.
Edited by CN
Follow the author on Twitter: @Anahanum