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Baku should give EU gas 'without delay'

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Baku would benefit substantially from a decision to allow European consumers access to its vast natural gas reserves, a European envoy to Azerbaijan said.

Europe through a network of pipelines called the Southern Corridor aims to diversify its regional energy sector by bringing natural resources from Caspian suppliers, easing the Russian dominance over energy reserves.

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Roland Kobia, the head of the EU delegation in Azerbaijan, said in an interview with the Trend news agency that Baku has a major role to play in the diversification strategy.

"The European Union sees Azerbaijan as a country that can help Europe to diversify its energy supplies," he said.

Europe includes the Nabucco natural gas pipeline in its Southern Corridor of energy networks. The major players in the project are expected to ratify a major intergovernmental agreement on the project as early as this month.

Natural gas supplies, however, are not secured for the project despite the strong political backing for the gas pipeline. Azerbaijan, meanwhile, is viewed as a major market in terms of oil and gas.

"Europe should have access to these energy supplies, and Azerbaijan should be able to sell them without delay," said Kobia.

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