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EU courts Baku for natural gas

Oct. 16, 2012 at 9:25 AM

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Linking European natural gas markets to Azerbaijan will be a win-win situation for both parties, the European ambassador to Baku said.

Roland Kobia, the European Union's ambassador to Azerbaijan, addressed delegates at an oil and natural gas conference in Baku.

The EU aims to break the Russian grip on the regional natural gas sector with its Southern Corridor, a network of gas transit networks planned from the Caspian region.

"The opening of the Southern Gas corridor will be the winning situation for the both sides," Kobia was quoted by the region's Trend news service as saying. "By linking these two markets through the Southern Gas Corridor, Azerbaijan will increase its diversification of export routes, as well the EU will diversify its import sources."

A consortium working in the Azeri waters of the Caspian Sea, led by BP, is expected next year to decide between the Nabucco West pipeline and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline as the conduit for Azeri natural gas.

"The EU wants the Southern Gas corridor to be transformed into reality and be opened," said Kobia.

Europe gets about 20 percent of its natural gas from Russia, though most of that runs through Ukraine's gas transit system.

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