Consortium studies new pipeline between Azerbaijan and Georgia

Apr 27, 2010 02:00 AM

The consortium on the White Stream pipeline project, which is part of the Southern Corridor project, studies the possibility of building a new pipeline from the Sangachal terminal near Baku to the Georgian port of Supsa.
"Current work is concentrating on the Sangachal to Supsa gas pipeline, which will run parallel to the existing SCP, and further study adjustments for the Black Sea crossing and the compression and terminal stations," chairman of British company White Stream Pipeline Company, Roberto Pirani said.

The White Stream project consists of several stages, the first of which includes the construction of an underwater pipeline from Georgia to Romania, which will be laid on the Black Sea.
"White Stream" pipeline hopes for the Azerbaijani gas via the Black Sea from the Georgian port of Supsa to the Romanian port of Constanta and later to other EU countries.

A Sangachal-Supsa pipeline is necessary to deliver the Azerbaijani gas to Supsa. Currently, the Sangachal terminal supplied,in particular, with the gas produced at the first stage of development of Azerbaijani offshore field of Shah Deniz. The Sangachal terminal has the input flange of the SCP pipeline, through which gas is supplied to markets in Georgia and Turkey.
The initial capacity of White Stream will be 8 bn cm per year, which will later be increased to 16 and then to 32 bn. Initial volumes of gas for White Stream are expected from Azerbaijan. Other sources of gas can, as time will increase, capacity of the pipeline.

Initially the White Stream route, which was often called Ukrainian, envisaged constructing a pipeline through the Black Sea coast from Batumi to Ukraine and further to the EU, and was shorter than the current estimated direct route from Georgia to Romania. Until now, however, there is an opinion that this project is based on Ukraine, in connection with which, after a change of leadership in the country it was suggested that the White Stream can be frozen.
According to Pirani, this direct route acrossthe Black Sea to the EU countries means White Stream doesn't need to wait for the conditions to be right in Ukraine to realise the project. Therefore, the pace of events in Ukraine has no impact on the project as a whole. Nevertheless, Pirani does not exclude the future use of the Ukrainian route.

"We are keeping the Ukrainian route as an open option for the future when additional subsea pipeline strings will be installed," Pirani said.
Pirani said White Stream also makes it possible to supply Ukraine via Romania, this is not necessarily related to building a pipeline to Crimea.
"Together with the European Union we are in touch with the Ukrainian authorities and in fact we are currently undertaking a study to address the technical aspects of supplying Ukraine and gas transmission across Ukraine to Poland," he added.

In addition to the White Stream, the Southern Corridor also includes Nabucco, ITGI (Turkey-Greece-Italy) and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). Southern Corridor is one of the prioritiesfor EU energy projects, which aims to diversify routes and sources of supply, and thus increase the energy security of European countries.
The European shareholders of Nabucco, TAP and ITGI expect that Azerbaijani gas will form the basis to fill these pipelines at the first stage of their implementation. In particular, they hope for gas, which will be produced at the second stage of development of Azerbaijani Shah Deniz gas condensate field, scheduled for 2016-2017. Starting negotiations on export of gas from Shah Deniz-2 between SOCAR and European shareholders of Nabucco, TAP or ITGI depends on making an investment decision on one of these projects.

Earlier an official representative of SOCAR said that Azerbaijan is also studying alternative routes to export its gas, including White Stream pipeline, the construction of terminals for LNG export to Romania, CNG to Bulgaria, increasing fuel exports to Iran and Russia.
Azerbaijan expects to, after 5-7 years, increase its gas exports to different directions from Shah Deniz-2, Absheron, Nakhchivan, Bahar, Umid-Babek and develop deep gas from Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field.

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