Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 28
By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:
Turkey, in view of the recent processes and developments, is becoming increasingly important force on the world's energy map.
Although the country has no large oil and gas fields, the geographical location and the right policies, have given Turkey an opportunity to become a major energy hub and an important figure for both suppliers and consumers of hydrocarbons.
The project for the 'Southern Gas Corridor', initiated by Azerbaijan, has become such a major opportunity for Ankara. The 'Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline' (TANAP), which is the central and longest part of the 'Southern Gas Corridor', is designed to deliver Azerbaijan's gas to Europe, thereby helping Europe to diversify supplies and Turkey to strengthen its energy security.
No wonder that in such a situation, Turkey's weight on international arena has become much heavier.
Furthermore, Turkey continues to strengthen its energy positions. In particular, one of the ways is to strengthen the presence at all stages of the 'Southern Gas Corridor'.
As of now, Turkey's TPAO owns a 19-percent stake in the project for development of the 'Shah Deniz' field and the 'South Caucasus Pipeline', while another Turkish company Botas owns a 30-percent stake in TANAP.
Earlier, Ankara said it would consider acquiring a stake in the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). Given that this information came amid reports about the intent of Norway's Statoil to sell its stake, such a development looks quite real.
And now it has become known that the SOCAR Turkey Enerji (Turkish subsidiary of Azerbaijani state oil company SOCAR) wants to acquire a seven-percent stake in TANAP.
It can buy the projected seven-percent stake from SOCAR, which currently owns a 58-percent stake in the pipeline.
It should be noted that SOCAR Turkey Enerji is the subject of the Turkish economy, and therefore the acquisition of a share in TANAP by the company can be regarded only as an increase of Turkish presence in the pipeline. Moreover, recently, some 13 percent shares of the company were purchased from SOCAR by the US investment bank Goldman Sachs for $1.3 billion. The fact of the infusion of the US capital to the project, of course, increases the interest in the TANAP as an economically promising and reliable project.
The intention to buy a stake in TANAP also proves that SOCAR Turkey Enerji has sufficiently strengthened on the global energy market. By purchasing a part of shares in the project, the company undertakes commitments on its financing as well, and 7 percent is a rather big figure in a project worth $10 billion.
It also has its positive side for the project. The increase in the number of shareholders will lead to reduction of risks due to the division of responsibilities between the large number of companies. Moreover, such situation will lead to the relief of SOCAR's financial burden, which at the same time will retain control over the pipeline (51 percent).
The acquisition of a stake in TANAP by the Turkish company will further strengthen the importance of the country and enhance its credibility as a state necessary to be reckoned with in energy issues.
Edited by CN
Maksim Tsurkov is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov