By Sara Rajabova
Italy has offered the use of its existing infrastructure for transporting Azerbaijani gas to energy-hungry Europe.
Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company SOCAR and the Italian company Snam inked a memorandum of cooperation to assess initiatives put forth for the development of the Southern Gas Corridor .
The document was signed by SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev and Snam CEO Carlo Malacarne in Baku on September 23, SOCAR reported.
The memorandum envisages the exchange of information and a thorough evaluation of the various proposed projects.
The sides also discussed the possibility of exchanging experience in construction and the operation of equipment necessary for the transportation of natural gas from Azerbaijan and other countries to the European markets using Italy’s infrastructure.
The Southern Gas Corridor is a priority energy project for the EU. It is estimated to cost roughly $45 billion and is being developed for the purpose of transporting gas from the Caspian Sea region to European countries through Georgia and Turkey.
At its initial stage, the gas is to be produced as part of the Stage 2 of development of Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field, which is considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor. Other sources could also be connected to the SGC at a later stage.
As part of Stage 2 of Shah Deniz, gas will be exported to Turkey and European markets via the expanding the South Caucasus Pipeline through to the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, which are under construction.
Earlier, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received the Italian company’s CEO to exchange views on issues related to cooperation between Snam and SOCAR.
Italy recognized Azerbaijan's independence in January 1991. The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in May 1992.
Italy’s first embassy among the Southern Caucasian republics was opened in Azerbaijan in 1997. The embassy of Azerbaijan to Italy has been operating since 2003.
Italy has become the biggest trade partner of Azerbaijan in importing crude oil and oil products. Italy mainly exports tobacco, leather, furniture, and pipes for the oil sector to Azerbaijan.
Italian business circles invest large sums of money and take part in a number of international projects.