Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 27
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
The Trans Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), being realized within the Southern Gas Corridor project, aimed at the the transportation of the Caspian gas to Europe, provide a better alternative than Russia's Turkish Stream project, Ariel Cohen, Nonresident Senior Research Fellow at the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center and Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center believes.
"These projects comply with the requirements, as well as the intent, of the EU's Third Energy Package. This fact would give them a serious advantage over the Turkish Stream, if it were realistic today," Cohen, who is also a director of the Center for Energy, Natural Resources, and Geopolitics at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, said in a report.
The negotiations between Russia and Turkey on the Turkish Stream project have been stopped following the deterioration of the relations between the countries in November, 2015.
The project envisaged the construction of a gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey through the Black Sea. However, early this Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak confirmed the country's interest in implementation of the Turkish Stream project in case the European and Turkish sides are interested as well.
Cohen stressed that TAP is an important component of the Southern Gas Corridor initiative, as it would link Asia and Europe. TAP will transport natural gas from the giant Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan to Europe.
The approximately 870 km long TAP will connect with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi, cross Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Southern Italy.
TANAP project envisages transportation of gas of Shah Deniz field from Georgian-Turkish border to the western borders of Turkey.
Cohen also said that for TAP it is important to ensure that the project fulfills its energy-security role by dealing exclusively with non-Russian gas, so that Gazprom does not utilize this open-access policy.
Although only three countries will be directly involved in the TAP project, the number of countries that could benefit from its implementation is likely to rise in the future, according to the report.
For instance, Cohen mentioned, in early 2014, Turkey and Bulgaria agreed to build a 114-kilometer pipeline connecting the two countries' natural gas distribution networks, which would allow for the supply of additional volumes from Shah Deniz to Europe.
"Such a linkage would improve western Black Sea littoral energy security, benefitting Bulgaria," he said.
This interconnector initiative envisages building a Greece-Bulgaria interconnector (IGB), which would receive natural gas from TAP.
Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary, particularly the latter two, are the most exposed EU countries in terms of gas supply security, the report stressed.
The author of the report believes that the construction of an Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) and Western Balkan Ring (WBR) that connect to TANAP and TAP would ease the dependence of these countries on Russian supplies.
Turkish officials recently announced that construction of an additional interconnector to Hungary through Macedonia and Serbia is being discussed.
"If realized, this plan would affect Gazprom's hegemony in Southern Europe, including the Balkans, and improve stability within the region," Cohen said.
The IGB project initiative would eliminate the need for revival of the Nabucco West project, the author of the report believes.