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19-07-2012 15:06:00

BP Approached By Azerbaijan Oil Company To Participate In Gas Pipeline

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By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch MADRID (MarketWatch) ..

By Olga Razumovskaya in Moscow and Aida Sultanova in Baku

MOSCOW--BP (BP.LN) has been approached by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic, SOCAR, to participate in the Trans-Antolian gas pipeline, or TANAP, project, Al Cook, vice-president of Shah Deniz Development for BP, told reporters Thursday.

"We have received a formal invitation from SOCAR to join TANAP," said Mr. Cook. "We will support SOCAR with our experience in operating pipelines and therefore we would like to have enough material stake to support and contribute to the project."

TANAP is a proposed natural gas pipeline from Azerbaijan through Turkey to Europe, which would transport gas from the second stage of the Shah Deniz gas field, the largest natural gas field in Azerbaijan, situated in the South Caspian Sea.

Shah Deniz Stage 2 is expected to add a further 16 billion cubic meters a year of gas production to the 9 billion from Shah Deniz Stage 1.

"We want to develop these pipelines to understand them better, to understand how much they are going to cost, to understand what gas markets they can reach," Mr. Cook said.

"Then, once we have a better understanding of the value and risks of the pipelines, we will make a decision on whether we select TAP or Nabucco West [two competing pipelines]," he added.

"We will treat TAP and Nabucco West, the two European pipeline options, equally and in the same way. We will sign the same agreements with both projects. Although we have reached an agreement in principle to take equity in TAP, we also plan to reach an agreement to take equity in Nabucco West," Mr. Cook said.

Previously, SOCAR president Rovnag Abdullaev said that the company is interested in attracting new participants to the TANAP project, in which it has 80%. He said that several companies expressed their interest including BP, Statoil (STL.OS) and Total (FP.FR).

Write to Olga Razumovskaya olga.razumovskaya@dowjones.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 19, 2012 09:06 ET (13:06 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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