14 Nov 2009 16:11

Baku, Sofia to explore options for shipping liquefied gas to Bulgaria

BAKU. Nov 14 (Interfax) - Azerbaijan and Bulgaria will set up a working group to explore options for liquefied gas supplies, Azeri Industry and Energy Minister Natiq Aliyev said at a press conference on Saturday.

"There is an idea to arrange shipments of Azeri liquefied gas on board special tankers to Varna, Bulgaria through the Mediterranean. Azerbaijan has never implemented such a project, and this is a new opportunity for us," Aliylev said.

The Industry and Energy Ministry and the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) have already received proposals on implementing such a project, he said.

"We made a decision in Bulgaria [on November 13] primarily on setting up a working group to comprehensively analyze and discuss this idea, the volume of shipments, their forms, and other issues," he said.

It was reported earlier that Azerbaijan and Bulgaria signed two documents during Azeri President Ilham Aliyev's working visit to Bulgaria on Friday, the first one being a memorandum on cooperation between the Azeri Industry and Energy Ministry and the Bulgarian Economy, Energy, and Tourism Ministry and the second a memorandum on mutual understanding in transporting natural gas between the Bulgarian company Bulgartransgaz and SOCAR.

In commenting on the signing of a memorandum with Bulgartransgaz, SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev told journalists on Saturday that Azerbaijan supports diversification of its gas shipments to international markets.

"Azerbaijan plans to export gas in four directions - to Russia, Iran, Turkey, and Georgia. At the same time, we are looking for new routes for gas deliveries in the future. The first option is gas supplies to Europe through Turkey. The second option is to ship gas to Bulgaria and Romania through the Mediterranean from the Kulevi terminal, and to ship gas from there to European markets through the existing gas pipelines," Abdullayev said.

These issues were discussed during President Aliyev's visit to Bulgaria on Friday, and a relevant memorandum was signed, Abdullayev said. "A feasibility study for the implementation of this project will be developed," he said.