Azerbaijan hints pipeline decision is soon

Oct. 19, 2011 at 8:11 AM

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The route for the transportation of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe should be selected by late October or November, an official said.

Groups managing the Nabucco, the Interconnector Turkey-Greece and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline projects have submitted proposals to Azerbaijan. Baku said it would deliver as much as 350 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year from its Shah Deniz-2 project in the Caspian Sea through whichever project it picks.

State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan President Rovnaq Abdullayev said in an Azeri Press Agency report that the route for transportation of Azeri gas to Europe would be selected in October or November.

All of the projects are part of the so-called Southern Corridor of transit networks for European consumers. Europe is looking to secure gas from Azerbaijan as a way to break Russia's grip on the regional energy sector.

Abdullayev added that a groundbreaking ceremony for an oil refinery in Turkey was planned for Oct. 25. SOCAR, he added, was a major investor in the project. Asked if he expected to sign a gas agreement with Ankara, Abdullayev said Baku was "preparing for it."

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