British Petroleum's Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) said it has begun construction of the Azeri pipeline project, according to a company release. At the Southern Gas Corridor, the pipeline is expected to eventually transport 16 billion cubic meters per year of gas from the Shah Deniz gas field, the largest natural gas field in Azerbaijan and one of the biggest in the world. The pipeline system will stretch 3,500 kilometers and provide energy supplies to Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and Italy, said BP CEO Bob Dudley.
The pipeline may reduce Europe's dependence on Russian gas supplies, according to Bloomberg.
"The crisis in Ukraine highlighted the issue of European energy security," said Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, according to Bloomberg. "The South Gas Corridor will finally end our dependence on a single pipeline."
Georgia and Turkey are anticipated to start sales in late 2018 with Europe to obtain energy supplies in 2019.
"The world's markets are thirsty for energy supplies and we have opened up a whole new route from a land-locked sea that is rich in natural resources," Dudley said in a statement. "To date, over two billion barrels of oil have been carried through the BTC pipeline."