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BP hands out more contracts for Azeri gas project

Gas in the Caspian Sea seen as opportunity to diversity the European energy sector.

By Daniel J. Graeber
BP hands out more contracts for Azeri gas project
BP hands out a contract worth more than $1 billion to help build the infrastructure needed to draw gas from the Azeri waters of the Caspian Sea. Photo courtesy of BP

BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 3 (UPI) -- A BP subsidiary trying to pull gas from offshore Azerbaijan said it doled out a $1.5 billion contract to help get gas flowing within the next two years.

BP, working on behalf of a consortium managing the Shah Deniz natural gas field in the Caspian Sea, said it awarded the contract to a build a vessel that will transport and install the production systems for the project. The bulk of the contract goes to Italian contractor Saipem, which in April secured a contract to help build the Trans-Adriatic natural gas pipeline from offshore Azerbaijan to Italy.

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"This major contract award for the installation of subsea production systems underpins our commitment to deploy new advanced subsea production technology for the first time to the Caspian," Frank Wilson, a vice president in charge of Azeri gas developments for BP, said in a statement.

Saipem has worked alongside BP at the Shah Deniz field offshore Azerbaijan since 2014. In a separate statement, the Italian company said the string of contracts awarded thus far solidifies its position as a central player in European energy diversification schemes.

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The Trans-Adriatic pipeline will start delivering gas from the Shah Deniz gas project to European consumers in 2019. TAP would connect to the Trans-Anatolian natural gas project running through Turkey to the Greek border.

TAP is part of the network of pipelines included in the Southern Corridor of gas programs meant to diversify a European energy sector dependent on Russia. BP said it expects to start drawing gas from the second phase of the Shah Deniz gas field within the next two years.

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