BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 11 (UPI) -- Azerbaijan is preparing for the development of the second phase of the Shah Deniz gas field and is setting sights on a pipeline for Europe, an official said.
State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic President Rovnag Abdullayev said natural gas production in Azerbaijan increased from 176 billion cubic feet in 2004 to 918 billion cubic feet last year.
"Currently, preparations for realization of the second phase of the development of Shah Deniz gas condensate field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea is under completion within the plans to increase gas production in the country," he was quoted by the Trend news service as saying.
Abdullayev said increasing gas production was "of great importance" to Azerbaijan considering expectations of growing natural gas demand from European countries.
Europe is looking to Azeri gas as a means to break the Russian stranglehold on the regional energy sector. A series of transit networks included in the so-called Southern Corridor would eventually transit natural gas supplies from the Caspian region to European consumers.
Abdullayev said Baku was in the process of choosing among the network of pipelines included in the Southern Corridor. Work is under way, he added, on the Trans-Anatolia gas pipeline planned with Turkish Pipeline Corp.
"This pipeline will allow meeting gas demand of brotherly country and Europe," he said.