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Europe Optimistic to Get Caspian Gas before 2020

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union, is quite optimistic to see Caspian gas in Europe well before 2020.

"I have to say that President Aliyev was quite optimistic about the completion of this pipeline [the Southern Gas Corridor] even earlier than planned. I left the meeting quite optimistic that we will see Caspian gas in Europe well before 2020," he said in an exclusive interview with EurActiv.

The Southern Gas Corridor, envisaging the transportation of gas from the Caspian Sea region to the European countries through Georgia and Turkey, is one of the priority energy projects for the EU.

At the initial stage, the gas to be produced as part of the Stage 2 of development of Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field is considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor projects. Other sources can also connect to this project at a later stage.

Šefčovič added that the issue of SOCAR's buying stake in DESFA Greek gas transport operator is almost resolved.

"I think at that time, DESFA was prepared for privatization and a company from Azerbaijan (SOCAR) was ready to invest. So they did," Šefčovič said.

In such an investment, he said, the Commission always looks at the current and the future situation of the market to make sure that there is a proper competition in all areas.

Thereby, the modalities, the proportion, the ownership, the share owned by SOCAR were subject to the discussion, according to Šefčovič.

"But I think that now is almost resolved," he said. "They are negotiating, but there are no reasons for concern at this stage."

SOCAR won a tender in December 2013 on the sale of 66-percent share in DESFA for 400 million euros. The European Commission started an inquiry into the compliance of the deal on acquisition of a stake in DESFA with the EU's regulations In November 2014. Currently, the deal is being considered by European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition.

Asked about how concerns raised by the Commission about Azerbaijan's purchase of the Greek gas operator impact the development of the Southern Gas Corridor, he said as regards to Greece, most issues need to be resolved.

"It is a more than 3000 kilometre pipeline. Each and every country that passes through, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Albania and Italy has very similar challenges, routing, i.e expropriation of land or regulatory and environmental issues. Therefore, we organized an advisory council to address the problems when they arise," he said.

Source: AzerNews

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