EU seeks to renew talks on Trans-Caspian pipeline

By: Aynur Jafarova

The European commission is interested in holding negotiations with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan regarding the joint activities on the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, Head of the EU delegation to Azerbaijan Malena Mard told journalists on October 22.

She said there is a tripartite format of the meeting on the Trans-Caspian project between the EU, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

However, Mard noted she can’t tell the exact date of the meeting yet.

Earlier Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Natig Aliyev informed about EU’s plan to hold another round of trilateral talks with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on the establishment of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline.

“EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger has proposed to hold another round of negotiations with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan in Brussels,” he told journalists. “But, unfortunately, the Turkmen side has not yet responded for some reasons but Oettinger assured me that the meeting will take place.”

The Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline with a length of around 300 kilometers will be laid from the Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan, where it will be linked to the Southern Gas Corridor. The pipeline’s capacity is 30-40 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

Both Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, two Caspian littoral countries, are interested in using alternative routes for transportation of energy resources from the resource-rich Caspian region to European markets.

Talks on the construction of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline between Turkmenistan, the EU, and other countries have been held regularly since late 1990s.

The negotiation process intensified after the EU issued a mandate to start negotiations on the preparation of an agreement between the EU, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan on the Trans-Caspian project in September 2011.

Ashgabat believes that the agreement between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan is sufficient for laying a pipe under the Caspian Sea.

Baku has expressed readiness to create transit opportunities and provide means to take advantage of them, as reported by representatives of Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR.

Azerbaijan will benefit from transportation of gas through the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline because the implementation of this project will make Azerbaijan not only a supplier of gas, but also a transit country.

However, Iran and Russia have expressed their skepticism towards the project, saying that the construction of the pipeline may damage the Caspian Sea ecology.

Recently, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said the Caspian-littoral countries face interventions while constructing pipelines.

SOURCE: AZER NEWS

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