Natural gas sales and transit agreements signed by Turkey and Azerbaijan on June 7 appear to give a long-awaited green light for Azerbaijani gas sales to Europe-bound pipeline projects. While energy executives have welcomed the news, a source at Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR tells EurasiaNet.org that the two sides failed to reach a comprehensive gas agreement.
“What was signed today is more of a memorandum of understanding than a commercial contract,” said the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) senior executive, who asked not to be named.
The documents signed in Istanbul by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish President Abdullah Gül nevertheless allow the Azerbaijani government to open negotiations with European companies about gas sales from the second, peak phase of gas production at its Shah Deniz field, since Baku and Ankara have reached an “agreement in principle,” the source said.
Talks about “commercial details” for gas supplies and exports from this second phase, expected to kick in after 2016, will continue until the end of this year, according to the SOCAR source. The source did not elaborate.
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance correspondent based in Baku. He is also a board member of the Open Society Institute-Azerbaijan.