Transportation news briefs, July 27

Azerbaijan � Turkey � Turkmenistan � Norway � Poland � Poland Oil & Gas � Statoil � Ruhrgas � VNG-Verbundnetz Gas � Gazprom

Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev said the country could no longer wait for a US-backed pipeline for Caspian Sea gas and has begun its own talks with Turkey to export Azeri natural gas. In a meeting with visiting Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Aliyev said Azerbaijan had originally planned to export gas through the proposed Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline. But because the project has been delayed, Azerbaijan will take measures to export the gas to Turkey. The pipeline was planned to transport gas from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan to Turkey, but talks reached an impasse because Turkmenistan is reportedly unhappy with the terms of financing and the price offered for its gas (OGJ Online, June 5, 2000). Azerbaijan says it wants to sign a contract as soon as possible to win a place in he Turkish market.

Norway will start selling its natural gas to Poland to reduce Poland's dependence on supplies from Russia. Poland's gas exploration and distribution company, Poland Oil & Gas Co., has signed an agreement to buy 200 million cu m/year of Norwegian gas from Norway's state firm Statoil AS by October 2001 and then 500 million cu m/year until October 2006. Representatives of the two companies have said that the deal is part of their plans for a bigger contract, under which Poland would start buying 5 billion cu m/year of Norwegian gas in 4 or 5 years. Under the latest agreement, the gas will be piped from Norway through Germany with Germany's gas suppliers Ruhrgas AG and VNG-Verbundnetz Gas acting as resellers of the Norwegian gas.

Russia's Gazprom has completed the construction of a backup pipeline for the Russia-Finland line. Construction took more than 3 years. The 162-km pipe will link St. Petersburg with Imatra, Finland. Its projected capacity is 25 million cu m/day. For the time being, there are no plans to use it for gas export; it will serve as a backup in case of failure of the main line. But the new pipe will start pumping gas to Finland once Gazprom begins exploiting new gas fields in the Russian Arctic. The new pipeline will be part of a major gas line stretching from Urengoi to the Finnish border.

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