The year of 2013 can be really considered as a crucial, decisive and a historical year for the gas industry of not only Azerbaijan, but of the whole European energy market. Soon after the choice of Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP) in June as a route for transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe, contracts were signed in Baku yesterday on delivery of this gas to European consumers.
Over 15 different European buyers put forward their proposals on purchasing of Azerbaijani gas especially that produced in the second stage of Shah Deniz field. These proposals exceeded the existing volume of gas (10 billion cubic meters) more than twice. Such flow of proposals is the evidence of great interest and importance of Azerbaijani gas for Europe.
This is not accidental, as Europe got a new reliable source of gas supply as Azerbaijan, which will help it to make progress in its diversification policy and to increase its energy security. Azerbaijan has already proved its reliability as a hydrocarbons supplier in the sphere of oil supply.
Azerbaijan, for its part, got access to a new attractable market for its fuel.
Thus, as a result, nine companies signed contracts for supply with the Consortium for development of Shah Deniz. These companies are: Shell (Great Britain), Bulgar gas (Bulgaria), Gas Natural Fenosa (Italiy), EON (Germany), Gaz de France (France), Hera (Italy), Enel (Italy), Axpo (Switzerland), DEPA (Greece).
It should be noted that EON and Axpo are the shareholders of Trans-Adriatic pipeline project through which the Azerbaijani gas will be delivered to European markets.
The documented intentions of the companies to purchase Azerbaijani gas reflect the transition of Southern Gas Corridor to a new phase - the phase of its practical implementation.
The steps towards implementation of this historical project are taken very quickly. It is expected to adopt a final investment decision on Shah Deniz-2 project by the end of this year. A final investment decision on TAP project will be adopted a month before this. The construction of this pipeline will begin in 2015.
Taking into consideration the interest of all parties involved, we can confidently say that the time when Southern Gas Corridor (which will be launched with Shah Deniz gas) will reach a new level and will be the largest project in the world open for transportation of rich resources of the Caspian Sea region is not far off.