New Georgian minister talks on South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion (exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, August 3

By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:

The implementation of the South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion (SCPX) project is making good progress in Georgia and remains on track to start up in 2018, Georgia’s Energy Minister Ilia Eloshvili said in an exclusive interview with Trend.

“The South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) along with Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) represents the key project of the Southern Gas Corridor in Europe,” he said. “Georgia’s involvement in this project enhances its role as a transit country in the region and the image of a reliable and important transit partner.”

The minister pointed out that the SCPX will expand the existing 7 billion cubic meters SCP system to accommodate a further 16 billion cubic meters with a new 48-inch pipeline loop, constructed parallel to the existing SCP.

“The SCPX project also includes construction of a number of facilities. These comprise two new compressor stations in Georgia, two intermediate pigging stations (one each in Azerbaijan and Georgia), six 48-inch block valve stations (one in Georgia and five in Azerbaijan), pressure reduction and metering stations at the international borders, and the interconnection with TANAP at the Georgia-Turkey border,” said Eloshvili. “The execution of the SCPX project is based on an overall philosophy of safe design and quality build. SCPX construction is making good progress in Georgia and remains on track to start up in 2018.”

The minister pointed out that today, over 2,600 Georgian citizens are employed on SCPX construction work.

“SCPX compressor stations’ construction is progressing with the first compressor station near Azerbaijan-Georgia border due to start-up in early 2018; and the second compressor station - in late 2018,” he added.

Construction works are also near completion at the new pressure reduction and metering station, the connection point between the SCPX and TANAP pipelines near the Georgia-Turkey border, according to Eloshvili.

He pointed out that 62 kilometers of the SCPX pipeline extension have mostly been welded and most of the pipes are now in the ground.

Total planned SCPX investment for Georgia is $2 billion out of which $400 million is being spent on Georgian suppliers and services, added the minister.

The length of the South Caucasus Pipeline exceeds 700 kilometers. It will transport gas produced from the Shah Deniz gas and condensate field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.

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 shareholders are: BP, operator (28.8 percent), AzSD (10 percent), SGC Upstream (6.7 percent), Petronas (15.5 percent), Lukoil (10 percent), NICO (10 percent) and TPOC (19 percent).

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Follow the author on Twitter: @Lyaman_Zeyn

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