Azerbaijan gas deal intended to reduce Europe's dependence on Russia

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A major gas deal has been signed in Azerbaijan, as European buyers move to try to find alternatives to energy from Russia.

The agreement includes 25.4 billion euros of investment in the country’s Shah Deniz II gas field in the Caspian Sea, as well as supply pipelines.

Participants included Britain’s BP and the Azeri state energy firm SOCAR. It was announced they have just bought a 10 percent stake in the project from Statoil of Norway. France’s Total is also in the consortium.

In five to six year’s time it is expected to produce 16 billion cubic metres of gas annually, six billion going to Turkey, and the rest to Europe.

Vugar Bayraml, Chairman of the Azerbaijani Centre for Economic and Social Development, said: “Azerbaijan will have a direct access to the European market and in the first year Azerbaijan will be able to export more than 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the European market.”

The pipelines are the Trans-Anatolian – TANAP – through Turkey, and the Trans-Adriatic – TAP.

The gas will travel 3,500 kilometres through Greece and Albania into Italy.

The amount of gas coming from Azerbaijan is supposed to rise to 31 billion cubic metres per year by 2026.

The European Commission said it could supply 20 percent of EU needs in the long term.

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