Work on new Caspian pipeline to begin in 2000

Participants in a newly proposed Caspian Sea gas pipeline project plan to begin construction before the end of the year, said Georgian International Gas Corp. Pres. Aleksei Gotsiridze in Tbilisi July 27. The pipeline is a rival to the much ballyhooed, and terminally delayed, Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline.


MOSCOW�Participants in a newly proposed Caspian Sea gas pipeline project plan to begin construction before the end of the year, said Georgian International Gas Corp. Pres. Aleksei Gotsiridze in Tbilisi July 27. The pipeline is a rival to the much ballyhooed, and terminally delayed, Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP), which would export Turkmen and Azeri gas to Turkey.

The new project involves laying a subsea pipeline from the field to shore, renovating and adding compressor capacity to an existing 490-km pipeline from the Baku area to the Georgian border, and laying a new, 280-km line across Georgia to Turkey. That pipeline will have an initial throughput capacity of 5 billion cu m/year, rising to 16-24 billion cu m.

Gotsiridze said that a group of companies operating in Azerbaijan, including BP, has agreed to provide $500-700 million toward the estimated $1.5 billion construction cost. BP revealed its support for this rival pipeline in June (OGJ Online, June 5, 2000).

Valekh Alesqerov, who heads the foreign investments division at State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic, recently traveled to Turkey to discuss Turkish purchases of Azeri gas. The decision to launch this pipeline project casts further doubts on the prospects for construction of TCGP, which has run into a number of obstacles, not the least of which is how much of the capacity would be reserved for Azeri gas.

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