Azeris Holds Talks With EU, Turkmens on Trans-Caspian Gas Link

Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan are discussing proposals for building a pipeline to deliver Turkmen natural gas to Europe across the Caspian Sea.

The Caspian states are also working on a draft agreement with the European Union on providing political support for the pipeline, Azeri Industry and Energy Minister Natiq Aliyev told reporters today in the capital, Baku.

“Turkmenistan is saying it’s ready to sell about 30 billion cubic meters of gas a year to the European Union on its own shores of the Caspian Sea,” Aliyev said. “Azerbaijan wants Turkmenistan to sell the fuel on the Azeri shores.”

EU nations are seeking to diversify their sources of gas to curb dependence on Russian deliveries, which have been disrupted several times en route through Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly voiced opposition to the idea of building a pipeline across the Caspian, citing environmental reasons.

The proposed Trans-Caspian gas link is an important element of the EU’s planned Southern Gas Corridor, Aliyev said.

Aliyev said the pipeline project will cost more than the $3 billion estimated in the 1990s, with the section along the seabed alone requiring $2 billion of investment, he said.

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