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White Stream: life after death2010-04-12 23:40
Azerbaijan, Georgia and Romania are going to sign a Memorandum on Cooperation in the Gas Field tomorrow in Bucharest. They have already signed bilateral and trilateral agreements, so this one is going to be a sheer formality. Azerbaijan will get an opportunity to increase the gas export due to the two plants that will ensure gas liquefaction and turning it back to the initial state with further gas realization in Europe.
Within the last ten years, Azerbaijan has increased the oil and gas production four times, although the figure was lowered in the crisis year of 2009. Accordingly, the country needs expanding the hydrocarbons export ways. This is the reason of the unscrupulousness of the Azerbaijani government which is ready to provide gas for both the South Stream Russian project and the Nabucco European project. Besides economical expediency, Baku may also draw political benefit from its multi-vector course, making statements about its priorities depending on the state of its relationship with Brussels and Moscow.
Russia remains the largest foreign consumer of the Azerbaijani gas. In the first quarter of the year Russia bought 172 million cubic meters of gas. Georgia did not fall behind much: approximately 169 million cubic meters were sold there, while another 80 million were sold to Nakhichevan Republic of Iran. Besides, the most important transit pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum runs through the Georgian territory, carrying about 1 billion 200 million cubic meters of gas per quarter.
Now, gas pumping to Rumania is going to be added to these routes in the course of the memorandum realization. The pipe is going to run from Azerbaijan to the Black Sea shores. A gas liquefaction plant is going to be constructed here, near the Georgian Supsa, Poti and Kulevi. President of the Azerbaijani State Oil Company (GNKAR) Rovnag Abdullaev spoke for Kulevi as well. The company is going to erect an LNG-terminal in this port and will probably build another enterprise there.
Afterwards, the gas may be carried on tankers to Rumania by the Black Sea. There, the gas will undergo a reverse process at the projected plant and will run to Europe in its usual state. According to preliminary appraisals, the project cost is going to amount to EUR 4-6 bln.
The version of the gas running to the Ukrainian terminals was the basis of the White Stream project which was system-forming for the GUAM union. The only point is that an underwater gas pipeline was to be constructed instead of the tankers. After the change of the Ukrainian president both the GUAM block and the project were frozen, evidently for a long time but the idea seems to be still relevant.