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Azerbaijan Still Backs Tanap After Nabucco Report, Turkey Says

Turkey, pushing the planned Trans-Anatolia Pipeline to carry Caspian natural gas to Europe, said Azerbaijan remains supportive of the project even after reports that alternative routes were still being considered.

“President Ilham Aliyev and our prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, have the political will to implement the project,” Turkish Deputy Energy Minister Murat Mercan told reporters in the Azeri capital, Baku, today. Mercan said he hoped talks will be completed by the end of the month.

Azerbaijan and Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding to build the 2,000-kilometer (1,240-mile) link in December. Even so, the proposed Nabucco project, an alternative pipeline via Turkey, remains an option, the deputy head of the Azeri state oil company, Elshad Nasirov, told Die Presse newspaper in May.

State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan, known as Socar, holds 80 percent of the Trans-Anatolia Pipeline project, or Tanap, estimated to cost $5 billion to $7 billion. The rest is held by Turkish state pipeline company Boru Hatlari Ile Petrol Tasima AS, or Botas, and energy producer Turkiye Petrolleri AO.

Tanap is designed to deliver gas from the BP Plc-led Shah Deniz field in the Caspian Sea to Europe via Turkey. It would then link up with pipeline projects vying for gas-export rights, including Nabucco West, a scaled-down version of the European Union-backed Nabucco venture.

The BP-led group is due to make a final pipeline choice by the middle of next year.

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