Azeri gas essential for Europe, BP says

May 25, 2012 at 10:30 AM

BERLIN, May 25 (UPI) -- The Shah Deniz 2 natural gas field in the Azeri waters of the Caspian Sea is key to the development of a major European gas transit network, BP said.

The European Union is pursuing a network of natural gas pipelines in its so-called Southern Corridor, a system meant to break the Russian grip on the regional energy sector.

Iaian Conn, chief executive officer for refining and marketing for BP, told a delegation in Berlin phase 2 of the Shah Deniz natural gas field in the Caspian Sea will produce more than 560 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year, with 353 bcf per year available for European markets.

"This 353 bcf per year enables the corridor to Europe to be established," he said.

Conn said it was important that Europe secure its strategic interests by making sure natural gas from Azerbaijan can flow to the eurozone as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Project companies backing Nabucco West, a scaled-down version of the larger $10 billion pipeline, and the South East Europe Pipeline handed in their proposals in mid-May to the BP-led consortium managing the Shah Deniz natural gas field in Azerbaijan. Either would be included in the Southern Corridor.

"There is no predetermined winner, the competition is fully open and there is still everything to play for," said Conn.

A decision is expected in June.

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