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Azerbaijan’s role as alternative gas supplier grows

Trend-The role of Azerbaijan as an alternative supplier of gas to European markets grows, the research assistant of the Center for the Study of Central Asia and Caucasus of the Institute of Oriental Studies (Moscow) Stanislav Pritchin told to reporters.

“Long-term projects that are being implemented within the framework of the Southern Gas Corridor are very important for Europe in terms of the fact that Azerbaijan will act as an independent supplier,” said Pritchin, adding that there will always be support for these projects at the level of the European Commission.

Pritchin said that Azerbaijan’s energy policy is maximum aimed at the use of all available opportunities.

Speaking about the Turkish Stream project proposed by Russia, the route of which has been recently defined by Gazprom OJSC, Pritchin said that there are quite real chances for the increase of the gas transportation to Turkey.

“The ground infrastructure in Russia has already been built, it received 4.6 billion euros, and in fact, all the design work on the underwater part is ready,” said Pritchin. “Contracts for the supply of pipes have already been concluded. And everything is ready so that Turkey would receive the initial gas in the volume of 15 billion cubic meters as part of this project.”

There are more questions regarding the further development of events and the fact whether the EU and Gazprom will be able to find common ground, according to Pritchin.

“Gazprom’s strategy envisages the creation of such infrastructure by 2020 in order to exclude Ukraine as a transit country,” said Pritchin.

He said the main consumers of Russian gas, which have signed the contract, are Eastern European countries bordering Ukraine.

Here, the EU will need to create a certain infrastructure from Turkish borders to its member’s states, Pritchin added.

At the same time, the expert believes that the supply of Russian gas to Turkey within this project will compete with Azerbaijani gas.

“Contract on the Azerbaijani gas to be produced within Stage 2 of development of Shah Deniz field has already been signed – Turkey will get 6 billion cubic meters,” he said. “Azerbaijan and Russia carry out the supply within their own contracts.”

Gazprom this week defined the route of the Turkish stream pipeline along the bottom of the Black Sea. The capacity of four lines of the pipeline will be 63 billion cubic meters of gas annually. The gas pipeline will pass 660 kilometers in the old corridor of South Stream and 250 kilometers in the new corridor in the direction of the European part of Turkey.

Gazprom sent a note with a request for implementation of design and survey work on the new Turkish maritime sector on Jan.28.. Gazprom will implement the marine part of the project on its own. Transport capacities in Turkey will be created together. The shares of participation will be determined through further negotiation.

Plans are for the first line, with capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas, to arrive in Turkey in December 2016.