Tuesday, May 15, 2012 -
The EU is ready to finance a good part of the Trans-Caspian pipeline project, envisaged as helping the energy-hungry continent lessen its dependence on Russian gas supplies, a senior European official said Monday.
The EU Special Representative for Central Asia Pierre Morel made that remark at the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Oil and Gas Summit in Paris, the Platts news agency reported.
Caspian littoral state Russia fiercely opposes the project and insists that all five countries bordering the inland sea should have a say on it.
But Morel pointed out that the pipeline would be laid in the undisputed territorial waters of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.
The 186-mile pipeline would allow Europe to directly access Turkmenistan’s vast gas fields via a southern energy corridor route, thereby providing an alternative to Russia which currently has a stranglehold over Central Asia’s gas export pipelines to the EU.
“Russia has been critical and tried to undermine” the Southern Corridor ever since the project took legs in 2009, Morel said.
Stressing the EU’s commitment to the Trans-Caspian pipeline, Morel said Europe hopes to address Moscow’s concerns on the prospective route during the forthcoming EU-Russia summit in June.