After almost one year of negotiations, Romania, Georgia and Azerbaijan have signed a memorandum regarding the set up of a company for a project that will be masterminded from the head office in Bucharest. The company will manage a feasibility study to assess whether a gas transport on the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania route is possible. The three parties agreed to call the project AGRI – Azerbaijan Georgia Romania Interconnection. Romanian Economy minister Adriean Videanu said AGRI could be completed before Nabucco. The three parties claim that their project could bring the gas from Azerbaijan to Europe.
The agreement memorandum was signed by Romanian Economy minister Adriean Videanu, Azerbaijani Industry and Energy minister Natig Aliyev and Georgian Energy minister Alexander Khetaguri.
According to Videanu, "following discussions that took approximately a year, we agreed to sign a memorandum that would back the support for a gas transport project from Azerbaijan through Georgia, in Romania and from here in the European Union". The three parties decided to set up a company which would integrate the existent studies and would carry out the feasibility study for the AGRI project. The company's headquarters will be based in Romania's capital.
"The company will be set up in the coming months and we will begin working on it tomorrow", Romanian Economy minister declared, claiming that AGRI might be finalised before Nabucco. According to Videanu, AGRI is a project meant to diversify natural gas transit routes and to reduce the dependency on Russian gas.
"AGRI complements Nabucco, is part of the numerous project on the southern corridor and Romania will insist to make it one of the main projects, including at a EU level", Videanu said.
Azerbaijan Industry minister stated the project was major, not only for his country, but also for European states. He claims that Azerbaijan pays great attention to this project and considers the memorandum a historic event. "We supported Romania's proposal of a transport system to deliver natural gas and liquefied gas to Romania. A special attention is paid to this project in our country. We're charging our national companies to carry out a detailed economic, commercial, financial and judicial research addressing this project to prove its economic efficiency and indicate the tools for this project. This project is not only important for Afghanistan, but also for all countries in the Black Sea region", Natig Aliyv added.
Last year, Azerbaijan proposed 23.5 bn cube meters of gas and intends to increase it to 28.5. The states gas reserves count 2.200 billion cube meters. "This is the explanation for European state's interest in Azerbaijan. We are in favour of diversifying energy resources transport routes", Aliyev said.
The gas will travel on the Baku (Azerbaijan)-Kulevi (Georgia)-Constanta (Romania) route. The gas will be liquefied in Kulevi and then transported through the Black Sea to Romanian port Constanta, where a de-liquefying process will take place. The project is estimated to four - six billion euros.