Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar. 17
By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:
Azerbaijan and Turkey, two countries that are not members of the EU, are currently doing much more for Europe's energy security than many member states of the Union.
Today has become extremely important for the European gas market and another confirmation of the importance of Azerbaijan in this issue. The Turkish province of Kars hosted laying the foundation of the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP).
TANAP plays one of the major roles in the Southern Gas Corridor, which aims to address the issue of diversification of gas supplies to Europe, as well as enhance the energy security of Turkey.
This is in fact the second important step of Azerbaijani gas towards the EU. The first one was made during the foundation laying of the Southern Gas Corridor in Baku September 20, 2014.
At the initial stage, the capacity of TANAP will be 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year with the possibility of further expansion up to 31 billion cubic meters. At the same time, about six billion cubic meters will be delivered to Turkey, and the rest to Europe. TANAP construction will take a little over three years. The pipe laying will start in early April, and commissioning of the pipeline is planned in 2018. The project cost is estimated at $10 - S11 billion.
Thus, the first gas via Southern Gas Corridor will reach Turkey in 2018, and after the completion of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) around the beginning of 2020 the gas will go to Europe. The cost of the entire Southern Gas Corridor project is estimated at nearly $45 billion.
Today's event proves once again: Southern Gas Corridor is a real project, and no one should have any doubt about its success.
At the same time, the Russian project Turkish Stream in no case can be considered an alternative to TANAP, as experts and officials say in one voice.
This is also confirmed by today's announcement that the company BOTAS has refused to sign an agreement with Gazprom about the 10.25 percnt discount for Russian gas supplied to Turkey, despite the fact that Russia is the main supplier of natural gas to Turkey.
It looks very symbolic that it happened on the day of laying the foundation of TANAP.
Both of these events suggest also that Azerbaijan and Turkey are now much closer to Europe than Greece, which still cannot define its role in the Southern Gas Corridor and still "casts an eye" in the direction of Turkish Stream, which is still a paper project.
Maksim Tsurkov is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov