Tuesday, April 24, 2012 -
Turkmenistan is ready to provide guarantees to supply Europe with at least 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually via the proposed trans-Caspian pipeline, a senior Azerbaijani official said Tuesday.
Natig Aliyev, the country’s industry and energy minister, made that comment in the Azerbaijani capital Baku following talks with Turkmen officials.
Azerbaijan is ready to act as a transit country for the project that would link to the so-called Southern Gas Corridor of east-to-west pipelines supplying European consumers with non-Russian gas.
Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan want reciprocal guarantees from Europe.
"The financial issue is certainly the main one. In particular the guarantees we would like to hear from the European Commission are guarantees of purchase, supplies, and support of funding for such a large project," the Baku-based ABC.az news agency reported Aliyev as saying.
The pipeline is a vital link that would give the European bloc direct access to Turkmenistan’s super-large gas fields, thereby bypassing Russia which has a stranglehold on Central Asia’s gas outlets to Europe.
Unsurprisingly, Russia strongly opposes the 186-mile trans-Caspian pipeline will be laid across the bed of the inland sea and insists that all five littoral states vote on it.