Official: Nabucco looks to newly-discovered Azeri gas

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Azerbaijan's state energy company has announced the discovery of major natural gas reserves off the country's Caspian coast: the Absheron field. Nabucco spokesperson Christian Dolezal told EURACTIV that the pipeline consortium was counting not only on supplies from Shah Deniz II, but also on newly discovered gas fields.

Khoshbakht Yusifzade, vice-president of SOCAR, the Azeri state-owned gas company, said on 12 September that the Absheron field holds at least 350 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas. The find takes Azerbaijan's total proven gas reserves to 2.55 trillion cubic metres, according to Yusifzade. Nabucco’s planned capacity is 38 bcm/year, while Shah Deniz II is expected to supply 10 bcm by 2017.

Christian Dolezal was speaking to EURACTIV Senior Editor Georgi Gotev.

Can you describe the procedure before it becomes clear which companies will obtain the gas from Shah Deniz II? Do you think Nabucco has a better chance than competitors like ITGI and TAP? What about Turkey as a rapidly developing country in need of more gas?

We cannot comment on the procedure but we are well prepared. Nabucco is working on a well-designed offer and we are convinced that we do have the most competitive transport solution for the clients and for the shareholders. The gas market is growing and new gas supply needs an outlet to many new customers. This is a win-win situation for both – suppliers and customers.

What's new with Nabucco, in the meantime? What is the consortium doing to improve its chances for the bid?

Nabucco is the most competitive and most developed project in the southern corridor. Nabucco offers maximum legal comfort with the Intergovernmental Agreement, which is a treaty, and the bilateral Project Support Agreement. Nabucco is proceeding with the environmental and social impact assessments, and we'll enhance negotiations with the lenders.

Shah Deniz II is not enough to fill the Nabucco pipe. What other sources are envisaged?

On [top] of [the] Shah Deniz II quantities, Azerbaijan has additional gas volumes for export available with gas fields like Absheron, Umid, etc. Nabucco further follows its multi-sourcing approach, envisaging as well gas from Turkmenistan and Iraq. 

Once the Azeri state company SOCAR has decided to whom to attribute gas from Shah Deniz II, is it possible that some pipeline projects could merge, as the European Commission has recently advocated?

Now it is up to the potential gas suppliers to make their commitment and it is up to the shareholders to decide on these questions. Currently there is no need for mergers.

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