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Blair to advise on Azerbaijan gas project

Tuesday, July 22
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Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, has been hired to advise a BP-led consortium on the export of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, in a sign of the efforts now being made by western companies to reduce reliance on Russian supplies.

Mr Blair will join former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and the chairman of Goldman Sachs International, Peter Sutherland – a former chairman of BP – on an advisory panel being set up by BP and its partners, a person close to the Azeri project said.

BP is leading a consortium that is developing Shah Deniz 2, a huge natural gasfield in the Caspian Sea. Its gas will be shipped through a “southern energy corridor” made up of two pipelines – one called Tanap that will run the length of Turkey, and another known as TAP stretching from Turkey’s border with Greece across Albania to Italy.

BP said the Southern Corridor Advisory Panel will “advise on political, environmental, reputational and societal challenges that may be faced by the Shah Deniz 2, TANAP and TAP projects during their early years”.

Mr Blair has been hired for his political and business experience – especially in dealing with EU institutions – according to the person close to the Shah Deniz 2 project. Development of the project is likely to run in to a multitude of regulatory and environmental hurdles, as it involves seven countries.