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Energy minister heads to the Caspian in search of gas

Energy minister Malcolm Wicks today began his week-long trip to countries on the Caspian coast to promote the benefits of supplying gas directly to Europe.

The Caspian and Central Asia region is believed to hold around 4% of global oil reserves and 5% of global gas reserves. Wicks will be holding discussions with the Governments of Turkey, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan during his trip.

“I look forward to visiting Turkey and the Caspian region to discuss how the EU and UK can best facilitate the development of their energy resources," said Wicks yesterday, ahead of his trip.

"It is crucial for the world’s future energy needs that we have transparency in energy reserves and clear, stable and predictable conditions for investment.

“UK oil and gas companies are already playing a leading role in the economic development of these three countries. Major infrastructure projects, like BP’s £10bn Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) and South Caucasus (SCP) pipelines, are benefiting global and European energy security. They have boosted the Azeri, Georgian and Turkish economies."

The BTC pipeline transports crude oil 1,776 km from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, is the second longest oil pipeline in the world and is owned by a consortium of energy companies led by BP.

The SCP pipeline transports natural gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to Turkey. First deliveries of gas started around 15 December 2006.

It will supply Turkey with gas that may be shipped onwards to Europe if the necessary infrastructure is built, such as the Nabucco pipeline. This is a proposed pipeline that could transport natural gas from Turkey to Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary.

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