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BP, Shah Deniz partners take control Of Trans Adriatic pipeline

BY JAN HROMADKO

BAKU -- The consortium developing the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, slated to ship natural gas from the Caspian region to Italy, said that a group of gas producers including BP has effectively taken control of the infrastructure project.

The pipeline consortium, known as TAP, said in a written statement that the BP led group that is developing the Shah Deniz gas field offshore Azerbaijan has exercised a call option that gives it control of a 50% stake in the pipeline project.

BP and SOCAR have each acquired 20% stakes in TAP, while Total bought a 10% share in the project, the company said.

In late June, the Shah Deniz consortium that plans to extract new gas reserves from a giant offshore field in the Azerbaijani Caspian Sea selected TAP to carry that gas to Europe.

The TAP project had outbid a rival scheme known as Nabucco West that had proposed shipping the Azerbaijani gas to Austria via that Balkans.

The TAP consortium also said that natural gas grid operator Fluxys Belgium took a 16% stake in the pipeline company.

The shareholdings of previously existing TAP shareholders Statoil, E.ON and Axpo Holding have been reduced to 20%, 9% and 5% respectively, it added.

Statoil and Axpo had previously each owned 42.5% stakes in the TAP pipeline, while E.ON had held 15%.

The TAP consortium also said that its shareholders are willing to accept further partners joining the project.

Azerbaijani officials have previously said that they expect gas sales and purchase agreements with potential buyers will be concluded by the end of the year, adding that Greece, Italy, Albania and Bulgaria should emerge as the main initial European buyers of gas from the Shah Deniz field.

Initially 10 bcm each year will be exported through TAP, but the pipeline is expandable to around 20 bcm a year.

The pipeline will connect with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline, or TANAP, on the Turkish-Greek border, cross Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in southern Italy.

Dow Jones Newswires

07/31/2013

 

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