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Part of Europe’s plans to reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas imports, include the development of a giant gas field in Azerbaijan. The Austrian company OMV announced on Wednesday that the Shah Deniz II consortium (comprising of BP, SOCAR, Statoil, and Total) in charge of developing the field has decided to reject the proposed Nabucco pipeline in favour of the shorter TAP pipeline, for transporting the extracted gas to Europe.
The TAP pipeline (Trans-Adriatic Pipeline) will see Azeri gas transported through Turkey, Greece, and Albania, before being piped under the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy.
If they had opted for the Nabucco pipeline, the gas would have flowed through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Austria.
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The consortium plans to produce 16 billion cubic metres of gas a year from the field under the Caspian Sea. Production will begin in 2018, when six billion cubic metres will go to Turkey, and the rest to Europe (although the pipeline won’t be ready until around 2019).
Whilst Russia has focussed more on the growing markets in Asia recently they are not ready to give up on Europe, and have several projects of their own. The Nord Stream pipeline was completed in 2011 to pipe gas from Russia, across the Baltic Sea to Northern Germany, and the South Stream pipeline, under construction, will pipe gas into Europe from under the Black Sea.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com