Europe loses time and Asian gas
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 16
By Seymur Aliyev - Trend:
The analysis that Azerbaijani gas will have no direct competitors on the European market in the near future, have been recently confirmed by the competitors themselves - Russian Gazprom.
The construction of the "Turkish Stream" will take more time than it was planned to spend for the construction of the "South Stream", Gazprom official representative Sergey Kupriyanov said.
In fact, the underwater part of the gas pipeline was planned to be constructed within three years. But it was preceded by the long-term preparatory process, analysis, preparation and approval of documents.
Thus, the supplies via "Turkish flow" if it is built can start after 2020. By this time the Azerbaijani gas will be supplied not only to the Turkish market, but also to the European market.
Gazprom's representative also said Russia isn't going to build gas pipeline infrastructure in Europe on its own, and holds talks with European countries for them to carry out this process by themselves.
However, a question arises: do these countries have this opportunity, especially in light of the ongoing economic crisis?
Greece is the first country after Turkey located on the pipeline's path.
Today, due to crisis, Athens is selling its gas distribution infrastructure, and, by the way, Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR is the main claimant (and here another question arises: why does it needs Russia's gas, when it will have its own gas on that market).
Other countries in Southern and Eastern Europe are not in the best position either.
Aside from that, some of them are already taking part in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline project. The question of who will build a gas pipeline in Europe remains open.
Moreover, the big energy companies are today experiencing serious problems because of falling oil prices.
Nevertheless, the postponement of the timeframe of Russian project should force Europe to think over attracting new real players, for instance such as Turkmenistan to the Southern Gas Corridor.
This country has huge gas reserve and the only thing that is necessary to attract this reserve to European system is the construction of the Trans Caspian gas pipeline with the length of only 300 kilometers (for instance, the length of the offshore part of the South Stream was planned to reach 900 kilometers). That's to say, currently, Europe needs to speed up the negotiation process with Turkmenistan in order to attract it to the Southern Gas Corridor project.
Currently, the negotiations between Brussels and Ashgabat go very slowly. This forces Turkmenistan to seek new routes of diversification of its supplies and TAPI is one of the options.
The issue related to the supply of Azerbaijani gas has already been solved. It is time for Europe to think over the future of the Southern Gas Corridor.
Seymur Aliyev is the head of Trend Agency's Russian News Service