Baku, Azerbaijan, March 16
By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:
Southern Gas Corridor is a global project not just about an Azerbaijani project, Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natig Aliyev said in an interview with New Europe, published March 16.
"This is a global project not just about an Azerbaijani project," the minister said. "This is the reason why first of all we have to have in our region, peace. That is most important. We have to solve all the conflicts in the regions. We are speaking about energy security. But we have to have full security in each region before we can secure that. We need cooperation and support on every level. We have all the financial resources we just need the political support."
He said that the project is going very well in accordance with the programmes.
"We are starting stage 2 and just imagine when we drill 26 additional wells," he said. "The 8th is already completed and the 9th will be started this year. I think by 2020, when we are obliged to deliver gas to Europe, there will be all in line. When we speak about the European Commission, we are very thankful because it is supporting all our ideas and ambitions. Its aim is the specification of the routes and sources. Now our interests and EU's interests are very close. Our cooperation is on a very high level."
"In each country we have problems both big and small," the minister said. "And now in Azerbaijan, by presidential decree, the State Commission for the monitoring of the work currently implemented in Azerbaijan was established. It is authorized to solve all problems, financial, economic, fiscal that may arise now and in the future.
"In Georgia, we have some issues with the acquisition of land for the pipeline expansion," he said. "With TANAP we have no real problems because we have good relations with Turkey. We meet often to make sure problems stay solved. In Greece, I do not think there will be problems. But now, with the new government, we are trying to see how this project, TAP, will be affected, what their preferences will be about this project."
He said that SOCAR has participated in the tender for DESFA.
"We are now owners of 66% of DESFA but it has to be approved by the European Commission in accordance with the Third Energy Package," he said.
"I think these are issues that can be solved, because some of it may just be misunderstanding," he said. "In Shah Deniz we only have 16.6 percent. Azerbaijan does not own the gas, it is a consortium, not Azerbaijan. This is very important. Secondly, we are not the shippers of gas either since the Southern Gas Corridor is operated by BP. In TANAP there is BP and BOTAS, the Turkish company, and SOCAR. So Azerbaijan is not both the owner and shipper of gas. That's why I think there are no contradictions."
In December 2013, SOCAR won the tender for acquisition of 66 percent stake in DESFA for 400 million euros. The remaining shares will belong to Greece.
But in November 2014, the European Commission opened an in-depth investigation to determine whether the acquisition of DESFA SOCAR is in line with the EU Merger Regulation.
The Southern Gas Corridor envisages the delivery of gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gas and condensate field to Europe.
At the initial stage, the gas to be produced as part of the second phase of development of Azerbaijani gas condensate Shah Deniz field is considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor project. At a later stage, other sources may join the project.
As part of the second stage of the field's development, gas will be exported to Turkey and European markets by expanding the South Caucasus gas pipeline and the construction of Trans-Anatolian (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic (TAP) gas pipelines.
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