SOCAR interested in acquiring Total’s share in Shah Deniz project

By: Aynur Jafarova

Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR is interested in acquiring the French company Total’s share in the project of development of Azerbaijan’s giant Shah Deniz gas condensate field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.

This remark was made by SOCAR Vice President for Economic Affairs Suleyman Gasimov on April 24, Trend Agency reported.

The French company’s intention to sell its shares in the project has not been officially confirmed. If confirmed, the contract participants, including SOCAR have the priority right to purchase the share.

“The Turkish side is also interested in acquiring a share in this project,” he said. “In case of the required funds, i.e., the funds allocated by the state, SOCAR could also increase its share in the project.”

The gas to be produced at the second stage of Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field development will be the main source of the Southern Gas Corridor, which envisages the transportation of the Caspian gas to the European markets.

The Shah Deniz consortium announced the selection of TAP as the main route for transporting its gas to Europe in late June. Another pipeline which was vying for Azerbaijan’s gas transportation to Europe was Nabucco West.

Azerbaijan agreed to sell over 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year from the second phase of its Shah Deniz development to nine companies in the European Union in September 2013.

The contracts were signed for 25 years between SOCAR and the European utilities, including Axpo Trading AG, Bulgargaz EAD, Depa, Gas Natural Fenosa, Hera Trading Srl, Shell Energy Europe, Enel SpA, E.ON SE, and GDF Suez SA.

The initial capacity of TAP will amount to 10 billion cubic meters per annum with the possibility of expanding to 20 billion cubic meters per annum. The construction project of TAP is planned to start in 2015.

SOCAR to deploy gas-filling station network

Gasimov also noted SOCAR intends to deploy a network of gas-filling stations in Azerbaijan.

For this purpose, a joint venture is being formed, which includes Azerigaz Production Association of SOCAR and Mayegaz Joint Stock Company.

“The preparation work is currently underway,” Gasimov said.

He also added SOCAR already is selling liquefied gas at the gas-filling stations in Georgia and this process is cost-effective.

Use of liquefied gas in urban conditions is economically beneficial for the consumers.

Azerbaijan’s energy giant SOCAR, which is keen on expanding operations in the retail oil products market abroad, is involved in exploring oil and gas fields, producing, processing, and transporting oil, gas, and gas condensate, marketing petroleum and petrochemical products in the domestic and international markets, and supplying natural gas to industry and the public in Azerbaijan.

The company owns gas stations in Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Georgia and Ukraine. It has representative offices in Georgia, Turkey, Romania, Austria, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Great Britain, Iran, Germany, and Ukraine, and trading companies in Switzerland, Singapore, Vietnam, Nigeria, and other countries.

SOCAR currently has 16 gas stations in Azerbaijan; two of them are located in the north of the country, and the remaining ones are in Baku.