US works in Europe to create alternative to Russian gas supplies

Mar 16, 2007 01:00 AM

The US administration is actively taking part in several gas projects in order to crate a new gas pipeline infrastructure in Europe that will serve as alternative to Russian gas supplies, the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried said on March 15.
Speaking at congressional hearings, Fried said: “As these gas projects develop, they will become a ‘southern corridor’ of infrastructure, offering a fair and transparent competition to Gazprom’s large scale network, which is being expanded in Northern Europe. The southern corridor will be able to change Eurasia’s strategic map, offering Europe better hope for deliveries of large volumes of natural gas that will help to guarantee diversification and departure from deepening dependence on one supplier or one network.”

The US official said that Turkey will serve as the centre of “these great strategic efforts”.
Fried reminded the Congressmen that the US has promoted and assisted in the construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which came on line in July 2006. In the near future Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline will also be opened and it will transport Azeri natural gas to Turkey. Daniel Fried also named Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline bypassing Bosporus straits that will take oil from the Black Sea cost of Turkey to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.
“This specific project is probably already ready to become commercially attractive,” Fried said.

The US official also said that oil companies in Kazakhstan are currently holding negotiations to transport their products in tankers through the Caspian Sea to Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.
“We are standing on the threshold of new investments that will rely on pipelines Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and will help the European Atlantic community to strengthen its energy security,” Fried said.

He added that Bush administration is actively working to increase gas production in Azerbaijan so as to increase the export volumes through Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline.
“We are currently working with companies and governments in order to help Azerbaijan increase its gas production in sufficient volumes by 2012-2014 so as to fill the new gas pipeline Turkey-Greece-Italy as well as Nabucco pipeline that will bind together Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria,” Fried said.

He added that Washington hopes to connect the trans-Caspian gas pipeline from Kazakhstan to Turkmenistan with Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline.
“We have also started three-way negotiations with Ankara and Baghdad to develop gas production in northern Iraq for exports to Europe via Turkey,” the diplomat said, noting that all of the aforementioned project are components of the “southern corridor” that will provide competition to Gazprom’s networks.

Source: MosNews
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