Azerbaijan Gas to Take a Southern Route

June 28, 2013 The developers of a major natural gas field in Azerbaijan have decided that the western end of their export pipeline to Europe should take a shorter, southern route ending in Italy rather than a northern one to Austria, one of the companies competing for the pipeline business said Wednesday. The Austrian energy company OMV, the lead shareholder in the company vying for the northern route, said it had been informed it would not win the pipeline deal, which by some estimates was to cost $4 billion. The formal announcement, which was expected to be made in Azerbaijan on Friday, is likely to favor a project called the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which would run about 900 kilometers, or 560 miles, through Greece and Albania, ending in southern Italy. The Austrian route would have been about 1,300 kilometers long. The winning route will convey gas to Europe through a connection to a new pipeline planned to run through Turkey that links back to the Azeri field through Georgia. A spokesman for the assumed winner, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline group, which is based in Baar, Switzerland, declined to comment Wednesday. The reasons for the decision by the gas field