Turkmenistan urges EU to build gas pipeline on Caspian Sea bottom

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ASHGABAT. January 17. KAZINFORM. Turkmenistan is ready to develop European trend in the energy policy and there are all necessary conditions for this, Turkmen President Gurbanduly Berdymukhamedov said on Saturday.

In his meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Berdymukhamedov said Turkmenistan "is ready to supply its gas to Europe. To this end, it is necessary to build a pipeline on the bottom of the Caspian Sea", Kazinform refers to ITAR-TASS.

He recalled that Turkmenistan had exposed its position at the Caspian summit in Baku in November 2010. Berdymukhamedov said the pipeline might be built on the bottom of the Caspian Sea on the consent of the states that would comply with the highest international standards and norms. The Turkmen president also pointed to a possibility to transport liquefied gas through the Caspian Sea. "Thus, we need a special infrastructure and the tanker fleet," he added.

"These ideas and other variants of Turkmen gas supplies to Europe may be thoroughly discussed between Turkmenistan and European states and companies," Berdymukhamedov said.

The Nabucco project is actively lobbying by the EU and the United States as alternative supplies from Russia. Turkmenistan is a key partner in this project. At present, Turkmenistan supplies gas to Russia, Iran and China. In 2010 Turkmenistan produced about 47 billion cubic metres of gas and over 22.5 billion cubic metres of gas were supplied abroad.

The Nabucco pipeline is a proposed natural gas pipeline from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten an der March in Austria diversifying natural gas suppliers and delivery routes for Europe. The pipeline attempts to lessen European dependence on Russian energy. The project is backed by several EU states and the United States and is seen as rival to the Gazprom-led South Stream pipeline project. At the same time, there are some doubts concerning viability of supplies. The main supplier is expected to be Azerbaijan in cooperation wit, Turkmenistan, Iraq and Egypt.

Preparations for the Nabucco project started in 2002 and the intergovernmental agreement between Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria was signed on 13 July 2009. The project is developed by the consortium of six companies. The final investment decision will be made at the end 2010. If built, the pipeline is expected to be operational by 2015 and it will carry 31 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.

The preparations of this project started in February 2002 when first talks took place between OMV and BOTAS. In June 2002, five companies signed a protocol of intention to construct the Nabucco pipeline, followed by the Cooperation Agreement in October 2002. In December 2003, the European Commission awarded a grant in the amount of 50% of the estimated total eligible costs of the feasibility study including market analysis, technical, economic and financial studies. On 28 June 2005, the Joint Venture Agreement was signed by five Nabucco Partners. In February 2008, RWE became a shareholder of the consortium. On 11 June 2008, the first contract to supply gas from Azerbaijan through the Nabucco pipeline to Bulgaria was signed.

The Nabucco project is included in the EU Trans-European Energy Network program and a feasibility study for the Nabucco pipeline has been performed under an EU project grant. The FEED services of the pipeline, including the overall management of the local FEED contractors, the review of the technical feasibility study, route confirmation, preparation of the design basis, hydraulic studies, overall SCADA and telecommunications, GIS and preparation of tender packages for the next phase, is managed by UK-based consultancy Penspen.

To read the full version visit www.itar-tass.com .

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