By Aynur Jafarova
Work on the expansion of the South Caucasus Gas Pipeline (Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum) will start following a final investment decision on the second phase of the development of the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz gas condensate field located in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.
"Final investment decision would be made in October 2013," said Per Johan Bugge, General Manager of the Azerbaijan Gas Supply Company, operated by Statoil, Statoil ASA.
He said the talks are underway with customers in markets , on which focused the two pipeline projects for supply of the Azerbaijani gas to Europe.
Earlier, Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natig Aliyev said that the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline will be expanded with the increased capacity amounting to 25 billion cubic meters of gas per year after 2017.
According to the minister, in later stages the volume of gas to be transported via this route will be increased up to 45 billion cubic meters.
Expansion of the South Caucasus Gas Pipeline will allow Azerbaijan to supply additional volumes of gas from the Shah Denis field.
In 2012, daily output capacity of the pipeline reached 11.1 million cubic meters of gas or 68,000 barrels in oil equivalent.
The length of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum Gas Pipeline exceeds 700 kilometers. It transports the gas produced in the Shah Deniz gas condensate field located in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. Gas is supplied to Georgia and Turkey. Azerbaijan appears as a buyer of gas as well.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said at a meeting of the World Economic Forum (Davos Forum) in Baku that Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline is one of the key projects for the transport and energy security of the region.