Wednesday, July 25, 2012 -
Azerbaijan’s energy minister says it is unlikely that a pipeline connecting Turkmen and Azeri gas fields for the Transcaspian pipeline project will be built soon.
“I don’t think the Transcaspian pipeline will happen anytime soon,” the Reuters news agency reported Azeri Energy Minister Natik Aliyev as saying in the Azeri capital Baku.
“Who will construct a Transcaspian pipeline? Azerbaijan is not interested. It has to be Turkmenistan that builds the Transcaspian pipeline, or European companies.”
Talks between Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and the European Union over construction of the Caspian-crossing pipeline have stalled in recent months, despite several trips by EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger to Caspian states.
Turkmenistan is estimated to sit atop the globe’s fourth largest supply of natural gas. The EU has been aggressively pursuing the project, as it is eager to break the gas monopoly held by Russian firm Gazprom over several of its members’ gas supplies.
Moscow is unhappy with the project, and has repeatedly stated that construction of the pipeline could not go forward without the approval of all five Caspian littoral states.
Aliyev said that the resolution of Caspian claims would have no influence over Azerbaijan’s decision to go forward with the project.
“There is no link, no influence between the definition of the status of the Caspian Sea and the potential building of the Transcaspian pipeline,” he said. “It would be an agreement between two states.”