Trans Caspian pipeline: nothing new in old promises
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 21
By Viktoriya Zhavoronkova - Trend:
In spite of the fact that the Trans Caspian gas pipeline is believed to be extremely important for gas supplies from the Caspian region to Europe, not all the parties concerned seem to be in any hurry to implement it.
Unfortunately, after long years of talks, observers see nothing else by promises. The latest promises were given in Ashgabat in December during the Turkmenistan-EU political consultations, where Brussels promised to intensify efforts on the Trans Caspian pipeline's implementation.
"The EU remains fully committed to finalizing negotiations and consultations in this sense are ongoing with all parties," a source with the Energy Department of the European Commission told Trend again on Feb. 20.
This phrase was repeated by this same source for about at least a year and a half. There may be two reasons for this: real flow of these negotiations is a secret, of the sides are running in place...
The EU remains fully committed to finalizing negotiations on the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline soon, a source who asked not to be identified added. Still it is unclear what they mean in southing "soon."
Small hope for moving forward in this regard is still remained taking into consideration recently made final investment decision on the Shah Deniz II project.
Gas within the second stage of the field's development will be exported to Europe through the expansion of the South Caucasus gas pipeline and construction of the Trans-Anatolian (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic (TAP) gas pipelines.
The initial capacity of the TAP pipeline will be 10 billion cubic meters per year with the possibility of expanding to 20 billion cubic meters per year. TAP shareholders are BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Statoil (20 percent), Fluxys (16 percent), Total (10 percent), E.ON (nine percent) and Axpo (five percent).
The volumes of transported gas by the Southern Gas Corridor might be much larger if the Trans Caspian pipeline is implemented due to potential gas supplies from Turkmenistan, which has the world's four biggest deposits of gas.
Earlier, Azerbaijan expressed its readiness to provide its territory, transit opportunities and infrastructure for the project.
Experts assign the key part in the Trans Caspian gas pipeline's implementation to Turkmenistan, which should be interested in it more that any other state due to its strategy of gas exports diversification.
But they believe the EU cannot force Ashgabat to sign any concrete document regarding of this pipeline. Pipeline project in the Caspian region also has political aspects.
Such large strategically important regional projects never remain without opponents. In this case the major are Russia and Iran.
Russian expert believes that Trans Caspian pipeline projects, proposed and supported by Brussels as a means to increase European Energy Security produce opposite results.
These projects strengthen intergovernmental contradictions in the Caspian region, political expert Sergei Zhiltsov writes in his aicle published in Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
There are lots of opinions, as implementation of the Trans Caspian gas pipeline will result in both wins and losses for those concerned. However, unless the project is implemented, there will be neither wins nor losses for anyone. Time to turn talks into action.