BP seeks TANAP stake

British oil giant BP intends to buy part of Azerbaijani state energy firm SOCAR's stake in the Trans-Anatolian project (TANAP) designed to build a pipeline from eastern Turkey to its European Union border, says Bud Fackrell, who is also responsible for BP Turkey's activities in Azerbaijan and Georgia.

"The TANAP project is of interest for the entire region, and therefore we support it. BP received SOCAR's offer to purchase part of its share. We intend to purchase a stake in this project," Fackrell said in an interview with Turkey's Anadolu news agency.

But he did not say how much of SOCAR's share the company intends to acquire, adding that the issue will be discussed and a final decision will be made by mid-2013.

SOCAR holds 80 per cent in the TANAP project, while Turkish stated-owned BOTAS company has a 20 per cent stake.

As for selecting the route for Azerbaijani gas supplies to European markets, Fackrell said the final decision will be taken within the next year.

He also said TANAP and Russian-backed South Stream project are not competitors, as both projects are necessary to ensure Europe's energy security.

Earlier, SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev said TANAP is interested in attracting new participants with available gas volumes. He said work was underway upon an agreement on the distribution of shares in the project.

Abdullayev also said that the proposals of many companies involved in the development of gas fields in Azerbaijan as well as other companies outside the country are being considered. A decision on the stakes will be taken depending on the volumes of gas transportation by companies and other issues, he said.

Abdullayev said, however, that though Azerbaijan's share will be distributed, SOCAR intends to retain control over the pipeline.

In late June, Azerbaijan and Turkey signed an intergovernmental agreement on the implementation of the TANAP project.

The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding in December 2011 on building the 2,000-kilometer (1,240 mile) TANAP pipeline.

Initial capacity of the pipeline is expected to be 16 billion cubic meters per year. The link may carry 10 billion cubic meters of gas a year to the EU from Shah Deniz, the biggest Azerbaijani gas deposit, while Turkey will buy 6 billion cubic meters.