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Azerbaijan eyes Shah Deniz route decision soon - SOCAR

Three consortiums -- Nabucco, Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy (ITGI) and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) -- are vying to build the infrastructure to carry gas to europe from the second phase of Azerbaijan's major Shah Deniz gas field.

One option is a pipeline from Turkey to the Romanian-Hungarian border, a route proposed by British oil group BP days before a deadline for consortiums to submit bids.

"Shah Deniz consortium will take a decision on a route of the pipeline project for gas exports to Europe in October-November," Rovnag Abdullayev told reporters.

"This decision should be taken in the nearest future, as well as a decision on sanctioning of the second phase of the Shah Deniz project in order that these issues can be reflected in this project's budget for the next year," he said.

Shah Deniz, being developed by BP, Statoil and Azeri SOCAR, has been estimated to contain 1.2 trillion cubic metres of gas, which European companies hope can supply them for decades, cutting their dependence on Russia. Production was launched in 2006, with the second phase seen starting by 2017.

Abdullayev did not rule out Azerbaijan completing gas transit talks with Turkey by the end of October to ship exports from Shah Deniz to Europe and sign a final deal during SOCAR's visit to Turkey.

"The Azeri side is preparing for that," he said about the deal, seen giving a potential boost to the Shah Deniz project.

Azerbaijan has been negotiating to sell Ankara 6 billion cubic metres of gas per year from the second phase of the Shah Deniz field and to ship 10 bcm to European customers via Turkey.

Source: Reuters

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