EU not pressurizing Azerbaijan on gas route

The European Union is not trying to exert pressure on Azerbaijan, which is considering gas transportation options including the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline to sell gas to Europe, EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger said on Wednesday.

Oettinger said nobody was accusing Azerbaijan of anything and the country would make its historic decision in October. He also said that there were other gas-rich states that border Azerbaijan, such as Turkmenistan and Iraq, while Baku should play an important role in gas cooperation with the EU, but could cooperate with other countries.

The 27-nation bloc, which is trying to diversify its energy sources and curb its energy reliance on Russia, sponsors the Nabucco gas pipeline project, which is intended to bring gas from the Caspian region to an Austrian hub via Turkey and the Balkans.

The Nabucco project is widely seen as a rival to Russia’s South Stream pipeline project, designed to carry gas to Europe under the Black Sea, but currently lacks gas to fill the pipeline. In May, the projected cost of the Nabucco gas pipeline was revised to 12-15 billion euros from 7.9 billion euros due to increased costs and supply problems.

Azerbaijan is negotiating with Turkey to sell 6 billion cubic meters of gas per year from the second phase of the giant Shah Deniz Caspian gas field and to ship 10 bcm to European customers via Turkey, a major player in the Nabucco project. Talks between the two states are focusing on transit fees, gas volumes, transportation options as well as legal matters.

BAKU, June 8 (RIA Novosti) 

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