Romania, Georgia and Azerbaijan on Tuesday signed a deal in Bucharest for gas transport through the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania Interconnection project, known as AGRI, which might be completed sooner than Nabucco, Romania's Economy Minister Adriean Videanu said, Romania’s Mediafax news agency reported. The memorandum of understanding was signed by Videanu, Azerbaijani Minister of Industry and Energy, Natig Aliyev, and Georgia's Energy Minister Alexander Khetaguri. The natural gas produced by Azerbaijan will be transported to Romania via Georgia and will be delivered afterward to other European Union countries. The project includes the construction of liquefied gas terminals in Georgia and Romania.
According to the memorandum, a company headquartered in Bucharest will be set up in the next few months to draw up the feasibility study, Videanu said. The Romanian minister said AGRI might be developed sooner than the Nabucco gas pipeline project, adding that it is the fastest and the most efficient project within the European Southern Corridor. According to Videanu, part of the natural gas transported via AGRI will be used by Romania. The project's capacity is expected to be 7 billion cubic meters of gas a year, of which Romania is expected to receive 2 billion cubic meters annually. Romania's Economy Ministry state secretary, Tudor Serban, said the project could cost between 2 billion and 4 billion euros.
The Azerbaijani energy minister said the project was important for all countries in the Black Sea region. The first project on transporting LNG in the basin, it will foster a vital corridor for southeastern Europe. Asked whether or not Azerbaijan, as a potential supplier, is capable of providing the project with sufficient volumes of gas over the long term, Aliyev said the country’s proven gas reserves exceed 2 trillion cubic meters and, given the current level of production, the volume is enough to meet domestic demand for as long as 100 years. Aliyev added that opportunities were being reviewed for future cooperation between Azerbaijan and Romania in the area of transporting oil, in particular, within the Pan-European pipeline project.
The Pan-European Oil Pipeline (PEOP) is a proposed oil pipeline from Constanta in Romania via Serbia and Croatia to Rijeka and from there through Slovenia to Trieste in Italy. The aim of the pipeline is to bypass Turkish Straits in the transportation of Russian and Caspian oil to Central Europe. In Trieste the pipeline will be connected with the Transalpine Pipeline, running to Austria and Germany.