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Georgian president in Azerbaijan for energy summit
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2010-09-14 07:48

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday arrived in Baku for an energy summit among Azerbaijan, Romania and his own country, according to reports reaching here.

The summit, slated for Tuesday in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku, will have Saakashvili, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Romanian President Traian Basescu further discuss the agreed- upon AGRI project. AGRI, initials standing for Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania Interconnection, is a project designed to transport Caspian Sea natural gas to West Europe through Romania.

The Azeri gas reaches Georgia's Black Sea port of Poti via pipeline and from there to Romania's Black Sea port of Constanta by tankers. The gas will be liquefied at Poti. Some 7 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani natural gas have been planned to be transported through this system to Romania annually.

An Memorandum of Understanding was signed among the three countries in April this year to set up a Bucharest-based joint venture to proceed with the AGRI project. The joint venture is entrusted with the feasibility study about the natural gas transport system from Baku to Constanta.

Experts have estimated that the cost of the proposed natural gas transport system will cost between 2 billion and 4 billion euros (between 2.57 billion and 5.14 billion U.S. dollars). If all goes well, the system will spare some 5 billion cubic meters of gas to West Europe, in that Romania each year consumes 2 billion cubic meters of gas from the AGRI system.

Azerbaijan produced 23.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2009 and the country has planned to increase its gas production by 5 billion cubic meters to 28.5 billion cubic meters this year. The central Asian country has a natural gas reserve of 2,200 billion cubic meters, according to the Azerbaijani president.

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