Azerbaijan Set to Become Main Supplier of Nabucco Gas Pipeline

It seems that Azerbaijan is already becoming the main supplier for the realization of the first stage of operation of the Nabucco gas pipeline. Events of the recent days show that Baku is seriously raising the issue about the realization of this version of transport of Azerbaijani gas in the near future with potential consumers.

As has already been said, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev paid an official visit to Bucharest on September 28-29 where he signed an agreement with President of Romania Traian Basescu on strategic partnership between the two states which included, among other things, close energy cooperation, in particular within the Nabucco project. One day later, a representative of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic [SOCAR], more precisely, deputy vice-president of SOCAR on international affairs, Vitaliy Baylarbayov, spoke about the possibility of supplying Azerbaijani gas through the Nabucco pipeline.

And a senior official at SOCAR spoke publicly about it in the capital of Bulgaria during the Black Sea Energy forum and named the amount - about 7bn cu.m. per year, but he underlined that there should be relevant "infrastructure" for this purpose, meaning a gas pipeline.

Surprisingly, the head of the Nabucco Pipeline Company (responsible for the construction and operation of the gas pipeline), Reinhard Mitschek, spoke in Vienna immediately after, at the end of last week, about the possibility of launching the gas pipeline in 2015. He confirmed his prediction with the fact that at the initial stage 8bn cu.m. of fuel will enter the gas pipeline from Azerbaijan and added that a similar amount is planned to be received from Iraqi Kurdistan.

Earlier the management of the Nabucco Pipeline Company said that 9bn cu.m. of gas was enough for the initial period: the gas pipeline can be "launched without any problems" if this amount was available.

It should be noted, that Azerbaijani representatives say that transit of Azerbaijani gas within the framework of Stage-2 project (major development of the gas-condensate field Shah Daniz) through Turkey is planned by December 2009. In this case, sanctioning of Stage-2 project is expected in the first half of next year and the pumping of gas is expected to start in the second half of 2015.

BBC Monitoring. Copyright BBC.