After all the haggling that has kept gas-thirsty Europe on tenterhooks, Baku and Ankara finally made an agreement this week on the transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Turkey, and further afield to Europe. If all goes as planned, once 2017 hits, Europe will be able to tap into as much as 10 billion cubic meters per year of the much-wanted, non-Russian gas, news agencies report. As middle man, Turkey itself will receive 6 bcm per year.
The news may come as a smelling salt for the long-delayed Nabucco gas transit project and its rival proposals, but most news reports overlooked one small detail.
Both Turkey and Azerbaijan's energy ministers will revise the agreement's details -- a process that "should not take more than a year," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters, one Azerbaijani news site reported,echoing a report in Turkey's Hürriyet Daily News. Details were not provided, but, as the past has shown, both Turkey and Azerbaijan can revise with the best of 'em when it comes to energy agreements. Arguably, the EU and US appear more impatient about calling it a day.
But maybe the West should look on the bright side. A year will give the EU plenty more time to start negotiations with Azerbaijan's Caspian Sea neighbor, Turkmenistan, for access to its vast gas resources. Such a deal could prove the clincher in its epic quest for a reliable, non-Russian gas supply traveling a reliable, non-Russian route.