Europe in search of alternative gas supplies
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 10
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
After Russia refused from implementing "South Stream" gas pipeline project, Central and South-Eastern Europe faced with the need to find alternative sources and routes of gas supplies.
The need for supply diversification is explained by the fact that the countries of this region of Europe depend on Russian gas to a greater or lesser extent.
Therefore, Russia's refusal from implementing "South Stream" forced these countries to intensify efforts to resolve the issue of ensuring their energy security.
Immediately after Russia announced its refusal from "South Stream", the official representatives of Hungary and Croatia made a statement that these countries intend to seek alternative sources of supply. Azerbaijan was named as a potential option.
During the meeting of representatives of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Romania and Slovenia held on Dec.9, the sides discussed the gas infrastructure priorities for Central and South-Eastern Europe. The meeting was also attended by the European Commissioner for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic.
During that meting, the sides agreed that it is necessary to integrate the gas markets of Central and South-Eastern Europe and diversify the gas suppliers and routes.
The integration of gas markets and the diversification of gas supplies will namely require putting in place the necessary infrastructure - which can be done by implementing key regional projects, according to the joint statement of the meeting participants posted on the official website of the European Commission.
The LNG terminals with corresponding pipeline systems, connections to the Southern Gas Corridor, or the development of East Mediterranean and Black Sea offshore gas reserve were named among such projects.
Aside from that, after the meeting, Bulgaria, Greece and Romania inked an agreement on the development of regional gas infrastructure, which, in particular, stipulates the creation of the so-called Vertical Gas Corridor connecting the three countries.
Creation of such a corridor will pave the way for gas supplies from the Caspian region, in particular from Azerbaijan, to several countries in Central and South-Eastern Europe and thus becomes a step forward in providing the region's countries with alternative gas volumes.
The construction of the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) is expected to start in 2015. The IGB will transport one billion cubic meters of the Azerbaijani gas. The IGB is expected to be able to carry out reverse gas supplies as well.
In case of availability of necessary infrastructure, gas may then be delivered to Romania and from there to Hungary and Moldova, which are connected to the Romanian gas transportation system.
Bulgaria, Greece and Hungary are the countries heavily dependent on Russian gas import. At the same time, Bulgaria is dependent on Russian gas supplies by 100 percent, Greece - by 54.8 percent, Hungary - by 56 percent.
In 2013, gas consumption in Bulgaria amounted to 2.6 billion cubic meters, Greece - 3.6 billion cubic meters, Hungary - 8.6 billion cubic meters, Romania - 12.5 billion cubic meters, according to BP.
Last year, Greece imported 2.4 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia, and Hungary - 5.9 billion cubic meters, according to BP.
Edited by SI
Aygun Badalova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AygunBadalova