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IEA notes Caspian's energy potential

March 17, 2011 at 9:24 AM

BAKU, Azerbaijan, March 17 (UPI) -- Natural resources from the Caspian region are expected to play a major role in Europe's market diversity though finances could get in the way, an official said.

Europe aims to break the Russian grip on the energy sector through transit projects that would depend on Caspian suppliers.

Richard Jones, deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency, said potential exports from Caspian countries will have a positive impact on energy security.

"Ample reserves and an emerging diversity of export markets are driving the Caspian contribution to the global energy balance," he said in a statement.

The IEA said it estimates gas production from Azerbaijan could increase from 600 billion cubic feet per year to 1.7 bcf by 2035. Most of this would come from Azerbaijan's giant Shah Deniz gas field.

In Kazakhstan, the IEA said it saw "very strong potential for growth" when the massive Kashagan oil field comes online in 2013.

Jones said that despite the immense energy potential, financing the infrastructure needed to get resources to the international market is a moderate concern.

European member states imported 11 trillion cubic feet of gas in 2008. That's expected to increase 58 percent by 2035.

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