Baku, Azerbaijan, May 30
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
Azerbaijani gas is currently the only real salvation of Europe from Russian energy dependence. The Southern Gas Corridor project, initiated and implemented by Azerbaijan, particularly the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) for the supply of Azerbaijani gas, and in the future gas from other sources as well, has already justified the expectations of the main consumers in terms of the seriousness and success of this project. All work on the project goes according to schedule, no uncertainties, delays and obstacles are observed in its implementation.
Knowing all this and realizing that there is no alternative to Azerbaijani gas at the moment, an increasing number of European countries shows the interest to buy this gas. Even the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project promoted by Russia does not weaken it, on the contrary, strengthens the desire of these countries to use all available opportunities for obtaining Azerbaijani gas.
It is not surprising that the countries of South-Eastern Europe, the region linked to only one source of gas supply, show special enthusiasm in this issue. It would be at least strange not to take advantage of a chance, which now opens for them.
Two countries, Macedonia and Serbia, have recently made statements about support for the project of delivery of Azerbaijani gas. In 2014, the company supplied 50 million cubic meters to Macedonia, and 1.36 billion cubic meters to Serbia given the consumption of 134 million cubic meters and 3.2 billion cubic meters, respectively, according to Gazprom.
It is obvious that the consumption in these countries is small, and they do not need such a large project as the Turkish Stream. Macedonia has recently stated about that. Russian gas is too expensive, and the Macedonian authorities plan to gain access to the TAP pipeline, via which Azerbaijani gas will be delivered to Southern Europe, according to the Prime Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski.
Azerbaijani gas can be delivered to this country and other countries of South-Eastern Europe, such as Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro via the Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline (IAP), which is planned to be connected to the TAP. The developers of this project are the company Plinacro (Croatia) and BH-Gas (Bosnia and Herzegovina), with which TAP signed a memorandum of understanding in 2011.
IAP pipeline with a length of around 516 kilometers will be connected to TAP in the city of Fier in Albania. The pipeline will pass through Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and end in the city of Split in Croatia, where it will be connected to the existing gas distribution system of the country. From Croatia, the gas can go to Hungary and other countries of Central and Western Europe.
The capacity of the IAP will be five billion cubic meters per year. The pipeline will be capable carry out reverse supply.
Namely Azerbaijan is a potential source for the gas supply in this area, given the potential and plans of the country to increase production, as well as a small amount of consumption in these countries. Gas production on such fields in Azerbaijan as Absheron and Umid can fully ensure the supply of gas to the Balkan countries, and this may happen in the near future.
Thus, Azerbaijan will not only make a significant contribution to the energy security of Europe. Supplies of new, alternative gas volumes will provide competition on the European gas market, which will make the price of Russian gas for some countries more acceptable.
Edited by CN
Aygun Badalova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AygunBadalova