Petronas said to consider buying Statoil’s stake in TAP project

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ISTANBUL/KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 2): Malaysia’s state-owned energy company is considering acquiring Statoil ASA’s stake in a gas pipeline into Europe from the Caspian basin, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Petroliam Nasional Bhd, also known as Petronas, may buy the Norwegian company’s 20% stake in the project, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the process is confidential. No final decision has been made and Petronas may choose not to pursue the acquisition, they said.

Statoil plans to exit the Trans Adriatic Pipeline project, known as TAP, Rovnaq Abdullayev, the president of State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, told Azeri TV channel ANS on July 20. The Oslo-based company declined to comment at the time.

From 2018 the 870-kilometer (541-mile) TAP project will initially deliver 10 billion cubic meters of gas annually from the Shah Deniz fields through Greece and Albania to Italy. The pipeline, which should eventually be able to deliver 20 bcm of gas a year, will connect to Tanap, a pipeline that will stretch 1,841 kilometers into Turkey.

TAP’s other shareholders include BP Plc and Socar, which each hold 20%, as well as Fluxys Belgium with 19%, Enagas SA of Spain with 16% and Axpo with 5%, according to the Baar, Switzerland-based company’s website.

A spokeswoman for TAP declined to comment via e-mail on potential changes to shareholdings in the project. Representatives for Statoil and Petronas didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.