Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister, Natig Aliyez, has announced that the country’s natural gas field, Shahdeniz field, situated in the South Caspian Sea, contains sufficient volumes of gas reserves to meet energy demand of Azerbaijan itself and of other neighboring countries, according to News AZ.

Azerbaijan will thus seek to deliver the gas to Europe. According to Aliyez, “it is necessary for Azerbaijan to sell the gas. The most reliable market is the European market,” informed APA. He further added that “the European Commission also has a plan to diversify sources and routes, which coincides with Azerbaijan’s plans. [Therefore,] TAP is not only Azerbaijan’s, but also Europe’s priority.”

Through the project, the country will thus attempt to develop the Stage 2 of the gas field with an investment amounting to $45b. As the country’s energy minister noted, “in Shahdeniz Stage 2, the Southern Gas Corridor will export 16bcm of gas, of which 6bcm will be shipped to the Turkish market.”

Additionally, the project is believed to be “not only economic, but also technological and social,” explained the minister, as it will launch tens of thousands of jobs.

He stressed that the construction works are set to be completed in 2019 and the first gas delivery will be sent to Italy in 2020. The completion of the project will, however, also depend on the speed of the works in Greece, Albania, and Italy.

In addition, Azerbaijan has larger gas fields like Absheron with estimated total reserves of 400 bcm.