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Southern Corridor tip of Azeri natural gas iceberg

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Natural gas deliveries to Turkey and Europe are only the start of the realization of Azerbaijan's potential, an Azeri company director said.

Rovnag Abdullayev, director of the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic, said natural gas deliveries through the so-called Southern Corridor of gas transit networks for Europe are only the beginning to Azerbaijan's energy future, the region's Trend news service reported Saturday.

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"We consider the gas transportation from Shah Deniz as merely the first link in this chain," he was quoted as saying.

A BP-led consortium working in the second phase of the Shah Deniz natural gas field off the coast of Azerbaijan selected the Trans-Adriatic pipeline as its conduit for European consumers in June. The pipeline is part of the Southern Corridor, a network of pipelines planned to add diversity to a European market dependent on Russian natural gas.

Abdullayev said there are several exploration projects under way in Azerbaijan designed to tap into the country's proven natural gas reserves, which he estimated at more than 100 trillion cubic feet.

He said he expects Azerbaijan to export at least 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas by 2025.

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"We believe that the major part of the gas can be transported to European markets," he said.

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