Baku, Azerbaijan, May 22
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
Unexpected and mysterious! This can be said about the Eastring new gas pipeline project. Eastring will stretch through some European countries after 2018 and supply Caspian gas to the West, despite the competing gas projects.
People suddenly began talking about this project in 2015. It was agreed by Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria to ensure the participation of these countries in the gas distribution systems of Europe.
On the eve of the Eastern Partnership summit, these four countries signed a joint declaration on construction of the gas pipeline that will connect Central and Eastern Europe. However, its name was not indicated in the declaration, but the essence remains the same. Another scalable gas stream will appear on the energy map of Europe.
The commercial launch of the Eastring pipeline is planned for 2018. At the first stage of the operation, its capacity should be 20 billion cubic meters per year, and further, it will be gradually increased to 40 billion cubic meters.
The pipeline's length will be within 744 -1,015 kilometers depending on the chosen route option. The investment expenditures at the first stage of the project's implementation are planned within 1.14 - 1.52 billion euros.
It appears that this gas pipeline will be a kind of compromise project with multiple supply sources. Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, Cyprus and Russia are already named among the gas suppliers to Eastring.
Therefore, the project that will begin with 20 billion cubic meters of capacity will have an opportunity to increase it to 40 billion cubic meters.
The peculiarity of the project can become the possibility of a two-way pumping of fuel, i.e. raw material supply in reverse mode from the north and west of the continent to the Balkan countries.
It is important that Ukraine, as a transit point, is most likely to be absent in the new project. That is, the European Union has protected itself from problems with supply across the country, which has been in crisis for some time.
What's old is new again. The Eastring resembles Nabucco, which sank into oblivion, a lot. By the way, recently Bulgaria offered Baku to revive a truncated version of Nabucco, which would provide for the supply of Azerbaijani gas to Europe from the Bulgarian-Turkish border to Austria.
Summing up, it can be assumed that the new gas pipeline is meant to deprive Russia of an opportunity to press the EU in the construction of a new gas pipeline in Europe, for the Turkish Stream, which Moscow can't do on its own due to the Third Energy Package.
Under the Third Energy Package, Russia isn't allowed to have its own pipeline in Europe.
But, the supply of Russia's gas via this route can't be called a diversification of supplies for the EU, as Moscow in fact is the sole source of gas.
At the same time, Eastring's involvement of countries such as Turkmenistan, Iran and Iraq as suppliers increases the urgency of the Southern Gas Corridor, and its component part - the TANAP, while reducing Russia's role and pressure as an "uncontested" gas supplier to Europe, which, in fact, was the main purpose of Brussels.
Edited by CN
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