The Balkans were and will be the priority for the producers in Azerbaijan, the Vice President of Investment and Marketing of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) Elshad Nasirov said in an interview with New Europe.
"Since the Balkans is the first destination immediately after Turkey in the European Union and, from the point of view of transportation costs and savings on the transportation if we compare delivery of gas to other regions of Europe, the Balkans is naturally our priority," Nasirov said.
He also stressed that the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline and the South Caucasus Pipeline will deliver gas from Azerbaijan to European and Turkish buyers on schedule.
Gas to be produced within the second stage of Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field development is considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor, which envisages the transportation of the Caspian gas to the European markets. This project is supposed to increase European energy security by diversification of gas supplies routes and sources.
Gas within the second stage of the field's development will be exported to Europe through expansion of the South Caucasus gas pipeline and construction of TANAP and TAP gas pipelines.
The first gas within the Shah Deniz-2 project will be delivered to Turkey in 2018 and to Europe in 2019. About 10 billion cubic meters of gas will be delivered to Europe via TAP.
Nasirov also stressed that that TAP and TANAP project schedules are aligned.
Regarding reports that TANAP is over budget, Nassirov said that SOCAR will be constructing the biggest part of TANAP and the financing of TANAP on behalf of SOCAR will be done by the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ).
"Right now we're making sure that everything that we have to conclude with the Oil Fund of Azerbaijan is in order, is optimally structured in order to have smooth financing of our share," he said.
Nasirov said he is optimistic that more gas from Azerbaijani fields will be pumped into the Southern Gas Corridor in the future. "There will be many changes in the economic, market situation but, with the strength of the increase in the need for natural gas, I think more volumes of gas will be needed and whenever there are needed, there will be the production," he said.
At the same time, he also welcomed any other producers who want to join the Southern Gas Corridor project. "We are not against any of the producers who can join the pipeline and the bigger the volume and the pipeline the less transportation costs we will have to pay for our own gas," he said.