Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar. 6
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
As of today, Azerbaijan has managed to create a system on the energy market that is hard to bypass even for the largest gas supplier- Russia.
Azerbaijan is the initiator, as well as a major player in the Southern Gas Corridor project, which is the key to the EU achieving its goals on diversification.
This project is important not only from the standpoint of supplying the EU with a new alternative source of gas, but also in terms of creating conditions for other vendors to join it in the future.
It was repeatedly stated that the Southern Gas Corridor is open to such suppliers as Turkmenistan, Iran- if sanctions are lifted from the country, and now even Russia. The latter, which sees the Southern Gas Corridor as a rival for its sales in Europe, can also become a member of this project and receive significant benefit from it.
Brendan Devlin, advisor on gas policy of the directorate-general for energy of the European Commission (EC), told European news website EurActiv that if Russia builds the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, the country can use the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which is a part of the Southern Gas Corridor, in order to transport its gas to Europe.
The proposed Turkish Stream gas pipeline will go along the bottom of the Black Sea to the land border of Greece and Turkey. Further from this boundary, Russian gas can be connected to the TAP project, which originates namely from the Greek-Turkish border.
As rightly noted by Devlin, it seems unlikely that another big pipeline, trying to compete with the Southern Gas Corridor, should appear in South Eastern Europe. In reality markets in this region are not so large, and it would be irrational to lay several pipelines there.
In his logic, Russia should take the opportunity to use the ready European infrastructure - and leave out part of its Turkish Stream project.
Moreover, given the future plans for the construction of an additional pipeline under the scheme of the erstwhile Nabucco project, Russian gas could also become an additional source.
Devlin's ideas reflect that the European Commission is not against the supply of Russian gas. In fact, given the growing demand for gas in EU countries, the additional volumes can only be beneficial, all the more so, they will be delivered via the new alternative route.
"It doesn't matter who the shipper is, and we don't care if it is Russian gas, Libyan gas, Azerbaijani gas. The internal market works like that. It's the rules that we have set up for Russia, or for Gazprom," Devlin said.
Nevertheless, thanks to Azerbaijan, the Southern Gas Corridor project doesn't remain just on paper, but has a real basis for implementation. This will make Azerbaijani gas the first alternative source for the EU and pave the way for other new additional volumes.
Edited by CN
Aygun Badalova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AygunBadalova