Baku, Azerbaijan, June 2
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
From day to day, the Azerbaijani TANAP project, designed to ensure the energy security of Turkey and Europe, attracts the attention of new countries that can become real gas suppliers via this pipeline. One of these countries, along with Turkmenistan, is Iraq.
This is confirmed by the words of Iraqi Oil Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, who said in an interview with Trend that his country has great potential for the possibility of joining the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline construction project.
He said that the international community knows about what is happening in Iraq mainly from the news, so many people may have the impression that instability reigns in the country.
"But it is not so," the minister said. "The SOCAR company (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan) have cooperated with Iraq for many years, and we have a commercial agreement. If the SOCAR company can work in Iraq, any other companies from other countries will be able to work, too."
Azerbaijan and Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding that provides for cooperation between both sides in the oil and gas sector, projects on production, transportation and processing of energy resources, as well as in other areas.
No one doubted that sooner or later, Iraq - a serious player in the world energy market - will pay attention to TANAP project.
However, it is necessary to construct a new gas pipeline between Iraq and Turkey in order to ensure the supply of Iraqi gas (in particular, from this country's north) to Turkey and European markets.
Earlier, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz said that Erbil and Ankara intend to jointly construct a gas pipeline to ensure the gas supply from northern Iraq.
In accordance with the agreement, it is expected that northern Iraq will start gas export to Turkey in 2016.
This suggests that the sides will start the construction of the gas pipeline to deliver gas from northern Iraq to Turkey in late 2015.
It is not ruled out that in order to deliver Iraqi gas via TANAP, Ankara will have to construct a gas pipeline from Iraqi border to one of its two provinces - Erzurum or Erzincan - where this pipeline can be connected to the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline.
Edited by CN
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu