BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 2 (UPI) -- The evaluation period for pipeline options to send natural gas from the Shah Deniz field offshore Azerbaijan to Europe has started, BP said Thursday.
BP leads a consortium managing the Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea. It announced that it started evaluating transportation offers from Nabucco West and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline officials.
BP said the evaluation period marks a milestone in the realization of the Southern Corridor, a network of gas transit projects meant to add diversity to a European market dominated by Russian company Gazprom.
"The gas sales offers will be considered alongside the transportation offers to determine the commerciality of the pipeline options and the respective markets," the BP-led consortium said.
The two pipeline consortiums submitted bids to the BP-led group in March. A final decision is expected next month.
Nabucco West would travel overland from the Turkish border through to Austria. TAP would cross parts of the Adriatic Sea to the European market through Greece and Albania.
Production from Shah Deniz II is expected by around 2018.
"(Parent company) Nabucco Gas Pipeline International and TAP are offering to carry 350 billion cubic feet per year of gas to different markets in Central and Southern Europe," BP said. "The Shah Deniz consortium is currently finalizing its assessment of these offers."