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Azerbaijan: When it Comes to Pipelines, It’s Not Personal, It’s Strictly Business

Stage two of the Shah-Deniz field has chosen the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TAP) project as the delivery method to Europe. (Photo: BP)

Just like the protagonist in the eponymous opera, the Nabucco pipeline, the one-time leading option for carrying natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, has been outmaneuvered and knocked from its preeminent perch.

In the opera, Nabucco is a king of Babylon who is outwitted by a group of palace conspirators and temporarily loses his throne. After undergoing a spiritual conversion, he thwarts his enemies and regains his crown. But the happy opera ending is one thing. In the Caspian energy-export game, it is far from certain whether the pipeline formally known as Nabucco-West will be able to make a comeback. That’s because the simple pursuit of profits, not diplomatic scheming appears to have been the primary reason Nabucco-West lost out among the multiple bids to export gas from Azerbaijan’s largest natural-gas field, Shah Deniz.

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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance correspondent based in Baku.

Azerbaijan: When it Comes to Pipelines, It’s Not Personal, It’s Strictly Business

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