BAKU, January 18 (RIA Novosti) - Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev officially approved on Friday a project to build the Trans-Anatolian (TANAP) gas pipeline to Europe via Turkey, the president’s official website reported.
Turkey and Azerbaijan signed an intergovernmental agreement on the issue in June 2012.
TANAP is projected to deliver natural gas, mostly from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas field, via Turkey to gas transport systems in Bulgaria or Greece. Turkey and Azerbaijan signed a memorandum on December 26, 2011, establishing a consortium to build and operate the pipeline.
The planned annual minimum capacity of the pipeline, to be built by late 2017, will be 16 billion cubic meters. Six billion cubic meters will be bought by Turkey and the rest will go to Europe. The project’s costs have previously been estimated at $7 billion.
The project’s major shareholders are the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) with an 80 percent stake and Turkey’s state-owned crude oil and natural gas pipelines and trading company BOTAS with 20 percent.
SOCAR, which has the right to sell a part of its shares to minority partners, has invited BP, Statoil and Total S.A. to become minority shareholders in this project. BP and Statoil signaled their readiness to buy 12 percent each, while Total S.A. said it might buy a 5 percent stake.