Turkey gets involved in Shah-Deniz pipeline project

Sep 18, 2002 02:00 AM

The construction of the Turkey’s most important energy project, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which will run from the Caspian Sea, through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to the Mediterranean, is due to begin on Oct. 16 in Baku with a ceremony to be attended by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. The pipeline is expected be completed in 2004, with oil transportation to begin the following year.
But Turkey has recently become involved in another important project, namely the Shah-Deniz project, which will transport Azerbaijani natural gas to European countries via a pipeline passing through Turkey and Georgia. Although negotiations on the project are still continuing, the four principal actors -- Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Greece -- recently reached an agreement. It’s well known that the Washington administration also had a hand in these negotiations.

The construction of this pipeline is expected to begin in Shah-Deniz, the region where Azerbaijan’s natural gas beds lie, and to end in Erzurum, an eastern Anatolian province in Turkey. The line will then be connected to Turkey’s domestic natural gas pipeline through Bursa, a province in our Marmara region. The rest of the pipeline will be constructed up to the Turkish-Greek national border, where it will be connected to Greek’s domestic pipeline.
Turkey’s domestic pipelines will become connected to Europe through this project. In fact, all natural gas pipelines of the European Union countries are connected to each other. The details of this issue were discussed during a recent Washington meeting between Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou.

Diplomatic circles believe that such joint economic projects would greatly contribute to the reinforcement of ties between the two neighbouring countries, which have in fact continuing serious problems concerning the Aegean and Cyprus issues.
However, such an attempt will very likely to cause a strong negative reaction in Russia, currently the only transit country for the transportation of Asian natural gas to European countries. However, Russia will lose this privileged status after the construction of the Shah-Deniz project.

Source: Anatolia.com
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