13 August 2012By A.Badalova
Azerbaijan is neutral and treats both Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and Nabucco West projects equally, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the Republic of Albania with residence in Athens Rahman Mustafayev told in an interview with Tirana Times newspaper. The interview is posted on the official website of the Embassy of Azerbaijan to the Hellenic Republic.
"We are now in the process of more close cooperation with the companies of two selected pipeline options and also with the governments of transit-countries, related to these two projects," Mustafayev said.
He also stressed that for all members of the consortium of Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field development (SDC) and for the Government of Azerbaijan it is of vital importance to have two healthy and competitive options.
He said that the joint mission to Tirana in July with the high representatives of BP, SOCAR and the meetings with Albania's high-ranking officials had a clear message - Azerbaijan supports TAP, as well as Nabucco West, and the country "will cooperate closely with both options to see more benefits from them and to continue the development of these projects into worthy competitors to each other".
Currently the Shah Deniz consortium considers two options to deliver its gas to Europe -Nabucco West and TAP.
In February Shah Deniz consortium made TAP a priority route for exporting Azerbaijani gas to Italy.
Later, in June the consortium chose Nabucco West project as the single pipeline option for the potential export of Shah Deniz Stage 2 gas to Central Europe. The final decision on a pipeline route will be made by the Shah Deniz consortium in 2013.
TAP is designed to transport gas from the Caspian region via Greece and Albania and across the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy and further into Western Europe. TAP's initial pipeline capacity will be 10 billion cubic metres per year, expandable to 20 billion cubic metres per year. TAP's shareholders are EGL of Switzerland (42.5 percent), Norway's Statoil (42.5 percent) and E.ON Ruhrgas of Germany (15 percent).
Nabucco West is a short-cut version of Nabucco project, which envisages construction of the pipeline from Turkish-Bulgarian border to Austria. The project's current shareholders are Bulgarian Energy Holding, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish Botas, Austrian OMV, German RWE and Hungary's FGSZ.
Talking about the current status of Albanian-Azerbaijani relations, Mustafayev said that Albania is a new, but very important partner for Azerbaijan. "Not only because of gas pipeline and energy diplomacy revolving around it, but also because of the fact, that Balkan region is emerging to be one of the prior directions for our foreign policy and investment activities," he said.
According to Mustafayev, investment cooperation between the two countries could cover not only oil and gas sectors, but also non-oil sectors of economy, since development of non-oil sector is the highest priority of Azerbaijani government.