Azerbaijan becomes commercial operator in South Caucasus gas pipeline (UPDATE-1)

details added (first version posted at 10:41)

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 1
By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan) has become the commercial operator of the South Caucasus gas pipeline through which Azerbaijan currently sells its gas to Georgia and Turkey. Gas is extracted at the Shah Deniz field.

Previously, Norwegian Statoil company was the commercial operator. It left the project by selling its share to the Malaysian Petronas company.

Transferring of commercial operatorship in the Azerbaijan Gas Supply Company and the South Caucasus gas pipeline to SOCAR is a very important step in increasing the use of local potential as part of PSA projects in Azerbaijan, SOCAR president Rovnag Abdullayev said at the ceremony dedicated to the event.

"This will allow achieving recognition of SOCAR's achievements among the global energy companies," Abdullayev said. "These achievements have been made in the development of its technical and commercial skills, as well as human resources."

Abdullayev thanked Statoil company for the excellent activity in the role of the operator in the Azerbaijan Gas Supply Company and the South Caucasus gas pipeline during 12 years, as well as for the cooperation in transferring the operator's functions to SOCAR at an agreed period.

Norway's Statoil sold its 15.5-percent share in the Shah Deniz project to the Malaysian Petronas oil and gas company.

The cost of the deal, including a 15.5 percent share in the South Caucasus Pipeline Company (SCPC) and a 12.4 percent share in the Azerbaijan Gas Supply Company (AGSC), is $2.25 billion.

The contract for development of the Shah Deniz offshore field was signed on June 4, 1996. The field's reserve is estimated at 1.2 trillion cubic meters of gas.

The gas will be exported to Turkey and the European markets by expanding the South Caucasus gas pipeline and constructing the Trans-Anatolian (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic (TAP) gas pipelines within the second stage of the field development. The first gas will be supplied to Turkey in 2018, while to Europe - in 2019.

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follow the author on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov

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