Gazprom courts Azeri energy officials

Dec. 19, 2011 at 8:02 AM
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MOSCOW, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Russian energy company Gazprom said it was ready to increase dramatically the amount of natural gas it secured from Azerbaijan next year.

Gazprom chief Alexei Miller met with Rovnag Abdullayev, president of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, in Moscow to discuss gas supplies from Azerbaijan.

Gazprom said a preliminary review of its November records indicates that it purchased 48 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2011, a 70 percent increase from last year.

Both sides, the Russian energy company said in a statement, "resolved that Gazprom would yet increase the Azerbaijani gas procurement to 105 billion cubic feet in 2012.

Gazprom added that there was the "unanimous opinion" that a stronger relationship between both countries made good strategic sense.

Azerbaijan has at least 52 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves in its Shah Deniz field in the Caspian Sea, Gazprom estimated.

Planners of the Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy, Trans Adriatic Pipeline and Nabucco submitted plans to Azerbaijan in October. They want to secure supplies from the offshore Shah Deniz-2 natural gas field.

Those three projects are part of the so-called Southern Corridor, a series of transit networks meant to reduce Europe's dependency on Russian natural gas.

A decision from Baku on the Southern Corridor is expected early next year.

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