EU sees Trans-Caspian Pipeline as complementary element of SGC (Exclusive)

EU sees Trans-Caspian Pipeline as complementary element of SGC (Exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 20

By Gulgiz Muradova – Trend:

For the European Union, the Trans-Caspian Pipeline (TCP) is an important, complementary element of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) in order to connect the significant gas reserves of Central Asia to the European markets, said Vice President for the Energy Union Maros Sefcovic.

Sefcovic was asked to comment on the developments around the Caspian Sea Legal Status, which is the main obstacle to realization of the TCP project that has been disused for more than 20 years.

"This is in both sides' interest, both for us here in Europe and for our partners in Turkmenistan. To this end, in 2015 I signed the Ashgabat Declaration with Turkmenistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia on the cooperation in the energy field," he said.

All sides, according to him, remain committed to the declaration and are in regular contact to explore possibilities of cooperation.

The EU, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan created a special working group in 2015 at the level of deputy ministers in charge of energy sphere. Earlier in 2014, Ashgabat and Ankara inked a framework agreement to supply gas to the Trans-Anatolian natural gas pipeline project (TANAP).

The TCP project has been around since mid-1990s. The idea was to build a pipeline across the bottom of the Caspian Sea to carry Turkmen gas to Azerbaijan, from there in pipelines through Georgia to Turkey and onward Europe. The pipeline is expected to carry 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas.

In early December, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that the draft convention on the status of the Caspian Sea is almost ready and will be approved by the presidents at the next summit in 2018.

Later Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov said that the draft convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea also includes the issue of pipelines construction, adding that the TCP issue will be coordinated with the countries through which the pipelines is to pass.

Previously, the European Commission told Trend that its engagement continues with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, both in bilateral and multilateral format, towards enabling Turkmen gas deliveries to the European markets in view of the potential expansion of the SGC to Central Asia.

The SGC is one of the priority energy projects for the EU. It envisages the transportation of gas from the Caspian region to the European countries through Georgia and Turkey.

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Follow the author on Twitter:@GulgizD

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