10 Apr 2015 - 12:52
The European Union (EU) is extremely interested in expanding energy cooperation with Caspian Sea countries, said EU Ambassador to Azerbaijan Malena Mardi at the Caspian Oil and Gas forum, yesterday in Baku.
The idea of linking the Caspian Sea to Europe with gas delivery includes the $10 billion USD Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline project (TANAP), which will travel through Georgia.
Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili visited Turkey’s Kars region last month where he and his Turkish and Azerbaijani counterparts attended a ceremony to mark the beginning of the TANAP project.
The new gas pipeline will pump gas from the vast Azerbaijani Shah Deniz 2 field to Turkish and European Union (EU) consumers with the aim of reducing dependence on Russian gas.
The 1,850 km TANAP project, which is due to be completed in 2018, will link the existing South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) which connects Turkey to the Azerbaijani gas fields in the Caspian Sea, through Georgia.
TANAP is part of the Southern Gas Corridor project that will bring gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, and from sources other than Russia. Current plans envisaged linking the TANAP with the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which brings gas from western Turkey to Greece, Albania and across the Adriatic to Italy.
Meanwhile, the negotiations are underway between the EU, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to build a Trans-Caspian pipeline, which will connect Turkmen reserves to the infrastructure to be established within the framework of the Southern Gas Corridor project.
The Trans-Caspian pipeline project is regarded as the optimal option for delivering Turkmen gas to European markets. The project envisaged the laying of around 300 km of gas pipeline under the Caspian to the shores of Azerbaijan. Further Turkmen gas can be transported to Turkey which has mutual borders with European countries.
The biggest obstacle to any deal between Turkmenistan and Europe on the Caspian gas supply could be Russia and Iran, while Azerbaijan, the initiator of the major energy projects in the region, favours the project.
Speaking about the Southern Gas Corridor that will bring blue energy to Europe from the Caspian Sea region and potentially the Middle East, Mard said the EU expects first gas from Azerbaijan to be received in 2020.
The 3,500 km South Gas Corridor will connect the Sangachal terminal with eastern Turkey through Georgia. It will link up with the SOCAR-led TANAP to be connected with a third pipeline TAP on the Turkish-Greek border.
TANAP construction is due to be completed in 2018 and TAP in 2020 with first gas deliveries to Europe planned in the same year. The cost of the work on all four elements of the Southern Gas Corridor was estimated at almost $50 billion USD, according to the preliminary data.