Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct.26 / Trend /
Trend Deputy Director Seymur Aliyev
Creating the necessary infrastructure and search of sources to ensure supplies is set as a top priority task when the European countries are working to increase energy security and diversifying energy supplies to their own markets.
In term of gas supplies to the European markets Azerbaijan and Iraq are considered as the first suppliers, particularly in the Nabucco route. Turkmenistan's gas will also play an important role in subsequent phases. The struggle for Turkmen gas has been progressing for a long time. In this case, there are both economic and political difficulties, as well as competition of different routes of gas supplies from Turkmenistan.
The outcome of recent talks held by the heads of Russia and Turkmenistan last week, has dramatically increased the actuality of some routes and in fact froze the realization of others.
As a result of talks held in Turkmenistan, it was decided to freeze the construction of the Caspian gas pipeline with capacity of 40 billion cubic meters, which was supposed to deliver the Turkmen gas to Russia through Kazakhstan's territory. The pipeline was supposed to take a significant part of Turkmen gas from other possible routes of its supply. According to the Russian sources, suspension of the project primarily is due to low growth rate in consumption in Europe. For this reason Russia doesn't intend to increase Turkmen gas purchase via existing routes. In recent years, the amount of import of Turkmen gas to Russia fell from 40 billion cubic meters to 10 billion cubic meters, and an increase in this indicator is not planned. All these factors can push Turkmenistan to routes of supply of its gas to the directions designed to diversify supplies to Europe.
During the talks between Russia and Turkmenistan, Moscow has expressed interest in participation in the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project. This can be regarded as another attempt to divert gas from the western direction. However, the implementation of this project, which has been developed since 1990s, is complicated enough (because of the war in Afghanistan, the political problems of Pakistan and India, and other factors) to believe it to realize.
Russia and Turkmenistan's relations still have unresolved problems in the energy sector, which began with the unilateral reduction of the volume of gas purchase.
Against this background, the prospects of other routes for transporting the Turkmen gas, especially the Southern Energy Corridor Pipeline (Nabucco, ITGI, Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline) and the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline dramatically increase.
It is very important for the participants of Nabucco, ITGI, Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline projects and the others to receive guaranteed volumes of gas supplies, as this is a major factor in allocating funding.
Concluding contracts or at least providing the guaranteed commitments for supply via this or another route will significantly increase the competitiveness of the route, and as a result will make it more attractive for funding by international financial institutions.
For the routes of the Southern Energy Corridor, lobbied by the EU and the U.S., lower consumption is not as acute as for Russia. First, it is due to the fact that the routes of this corridor are an alternative to Russian supplies, which the EU tries to ensure for a long time. Europe always needs this gas.
According to EU Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger, the EU's dependence on imported energy will increase from 50 percent to 70 percent in the next 20 years.
According to the EU, in addition this region expects an increase in gas consumption after 2020. According to the EU's report on priority areas of energy infrastructure for 2020 and 2030, which will be presented Nov.17, there will be a need to invest one billion euros in the next 10 years just in infrastructure development.
As a result of this report the European Commission will identify seven priority projects that meet Europe's interests in energy and climate change. Projects include gas supply from the Caspian, Central Asia and the Middle East, the Baltic gas pipeline and the North-South gas pipeline to the south of the Central and Eastern Europe. There is no doubt that one of these projects will be the Nabucco gas pipeline.