The BP-led consortium working in the Shah Deniz II natural gas field offshore Azerbaijan is expected to choose next month between the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline and the more ambitious Nabucco West for its European route.
Azeri Energy Minister Natig Aliyev said during meetings with Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe that commercial terms would drive decisions.
Norwegian energy company Statoil is one of the companies with interests offshore Azerbaijan as well as TAP.
"They (energy companies) have to profit to cover the capital costs," Aliyev was quoted by online news magazine EurActiv as saying. "It is very important for the foreign partners to have the most effective, commercial project for delivering gas from Azerbaijan."
Nabucco West would service countries in the European Union that rely most on Russia for natural gas. TAP, meanwhile, is governed less by host countries. Both are considered part of the Southern Corridor, a network of gas transit lines meant to add diversity to a European natural gas sector dominated by Russia.
Shah Deniz II should start delivering natural gas as early as 2019.