Caspian said to need better infrastructure

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Azerbaijan needs upgrades to regional transit routes in order to increase its natural gas exports to European customers, Azeri energy officials said.

"We have a lot of opportunities, but it will depend how soon we will have the effective corridor for delivering this gas for Europe," said Energy Minister Natig Aliyev in an interview with New Europe.


Azerbaijan emerged as a top energy hub because of its vast reserves located in the offshore Shah Deniz and Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli fields.

A second phase of development at Shah Deniz is expected to produce 706 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year in 2012. ACG holds valuable potential in incorporated gas as well.

The energy minister said his country is interested in the European market but faces a series of obstacles, including provisions surrounding the proposed Nabucco pipeline to Europe.

"It's not so easy because now we sell our natural gas on the border of Georgia and Turkey," he said. "But for selling it through ... the Nabucco project pipeline, we need transit agreements with Turkey and we are working on that issue."


The European Union and Western supporters put renewed emphasis on the 2,051-mile, $10.7 billion Nabucco pipeline following a January row between Russia and Ukraine that left the region starved for natural gas.

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