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BRUSSELS--Energy giants BP PLC (BP), France's Total SA (TOT) and Azerbaijan's state oil company Socar have agreed to fund the Trans Adriatic Pipeline project, planned to carry Caspian natural gas to Italy, the pipeline company said Thursday.
"The signing of this agreement is a significant vote of confidence in the quality of TAP's technical and commercial solutions from key industry players," Kjetil Tungland, TAP's managing director, said in a statement.
The decision could give TAP a strong advantage over its competitor--the much talked-about Nabucco project--in the race to bring the first ever Caspian gas to Europe, because TAP said the three companies will also have an option to buy as much as 50% of the pipeline.
BP, Total and Socar are three of the main partners of in the development of Shah Deniz, a major gas field offshore Azerbaijan that's expected to provide first gas for Europe in about six years.
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