Pipeline to create jobs for thousands
ISTANBULThe Southern Gas Corridor will create 20,000 to 30,000 new jobs for the region it traverses, according to Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natig Aliyev.
Some 10,000 of these people will be employed in Azerbaijan and Georgia alone, he said.
“As we promised Mr. [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan, this project will be finalized in 2019, he said.
The Southern Gas Corridor is an initiative of the European Commission for the gas supply from Caspian and Middle Eastern regions to Europe.
The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), the main vein of the Southern Gas Corridor, has already been agreed by Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia as the construction of the pipeline started in March.
Turkey made the official groundbreaking ceremony for the $10 billion TANAP project to pipe Azeri gas to Western markets on March 17, in line with a plan which could help the EU reduce its dependence on Russian energy even as Moscow touts its own alternative.
The ceremony was kicked off for the TANAP project with the participation of Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev, Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Erdoğan in the eastern province of Kars.
The initial capacity of TANAP is expected to be 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea, one of the world’s largest gas fields developed by a BP-led consortium per year, and will be gradually increased to 31 bcm. Around 6 bcm of gas will be delivered to Turkey, while the remainder will be supplied to Europe.
Officials from Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan have also been meeting to discuss Ashgabat’s participation in shipping gas through Turkey to Europe.
Azerbaijan improving gas capacity
Azerbaijan is improving its natural gas output, the minister said, referring to the Shah Deniz Project on the Caspian Sea.
The country expects some additional 15 billion cubic meters during the second phase of the project. This output will be exported to Turkey and Europe, he said, adding that France’s Total had also made a discovery and plans to start production by 2021.
The energy demand by the European Union will increase by 27 percent by 2030, he said, adding that the bloc exports 50 percent of its energy need at a daily cost of around 1 billion euros.
The project will cost $45 billion, Aliyev said, adding that the Shah Deniz II will soon acquire 26 new drills.
The Southern Caucasus Pipeline will also be developed so as to transport 25 billion cubic meters, he said.
However, the country is unhappy with the cancellation of the Nabucco Project and the delays in Shah Deniz II, he said.
Azerbaijan produced 2 billion barrels of crude oil in 2014, the minister said, adding that the country was seeking a sustainable and projectable increase in production.