The United States on Monday lauded the conclusion of an agreement between Turkey and Azerbaijan that will allow Ankara to purchase Azeri natural gas via Georgia from 2004-2020.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the pact would boost prospects for expanding Caspian Sea pipelines including the controversial US-backed Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan route.
"The United States welcomes this agreement which further strengthens the East-West Caspian transportation corridor," he said in a statement.
"The United States has long supported such commercially viable export routes for Caspian basin hydrocarbons," Boucher said.
"These projects enhance the political, economic and commericial cooperation among the states of the region and strengthen our energy security."
Under Monday's deal, Azerbaijan will provide two billion cubic meters (70 billion cubic feet) per year of natural gas from its Shah Deniz offshore field, starting in 2004. From 2007-2020, the contract calls for shipments to increase to 6.6 billion cubic meters per year.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse 2001.
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