details added (first version posted at 10:13)
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 23
By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:
Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan are negotiating the opportunities of transporting Turkmen gas to Europe through the Southern Gas Corridor, Natig Aliyev, Azerbaijani energy minister, said in an interview with ANS TV channel.
"There are two pragmatic options," the minister said. "The first option is to construct the Trans-Caspian pipeline, while the second option - to connect the platforms in the Caspian Sea through the subsea pipelines."
"The Southern Gas Corridor envisages the transportation of 16 billion of Azerbaijani gas annually," Aliyev said, adding that at the same time, it is open to other sources, including Turkmenistan.
"Turkmenistan claims about an opportunity of exporting up to 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas a year to Europe, but on condition of its sale on the country's border, in this case - on the shore of the Caspian Sea," the minister said, adding that this raises big questions.
"At present, Turkmenistan can export up to five bcm of gas from the offshore fields annually with the further increase up to 10 bcm," said the minister. "This option creates great prospects for the Southern Gas Corridor."
Aliyev said that despite the reality of the construction of the Trans-Caspian pipeline, there are a number of unresolved issues, which do not depend on Azerbaijan.
"Azerbaijan's position is that while constructing this pipeline, the country is creating opportunities for each country to export its gas to Europe," he said.
"Azerbaijan is even ready to make additional investments, increase the capacity of the pipeline, build additional gas compressor stations, but the country needs guarantees in the form of long-term contracts of the potential exporters, including Turkmenistan, with the buyer-countries in Europe."
The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for the EU. It envisages the transportation of 10 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas from the Caspian Sea region to the European countries through Georgia and Turkey.
At the initial stage, the gas to be produced as part of the Stage 2 of development of Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field is considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor projects.
As part of the Stage 2 of the Shah Deniz development, the gas will be exported to Turkey and European markets by expanding the South Caucasus Pipeline and the construction of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).
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