Statoil Plans To Supplant BP For Caspian Sea Pipeline

Statoil, Norway's biggest oil producer, is lobbying to supplant BP as the operator choice for the planned one billion dollar pipeline that will carry natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Turkey.

BP, which the world's third biggest publicly traded oil company, leads a group of seven oil companies, including Statoil, that plans to invest two billion dollars in the Shah-Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan's sector of the Caspian Sea. The group must start building a pipeline to carry the fuel to market later this year.

Statoil is trying to persuade the other partners that it should head a new venture to be formed to build the pipeline, giving it greater control and allowing it to collect fees for managing the project. The pipeline will carry about 8 billion cubic meters of gas a year to markets in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

“We have a track record from the experience of commercializing gas in Europe, which qualifies us as a very good operator for the south Caucasus pipeline,” Paul Eitrheim, a spokesman for Statoil's office in Azerbaijan, said in an interview at an energy exhibition in Baku.

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