Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 24
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
Current issues between Turkey and Russia will only strengthen the completion of the Southern Corridor, Founder Director of the Global Energy Center at the Atlantic Council, former US ambassador to Azerbaijan, Richard Morningstar said in the interview to Natural Gas Europe.
"I think Russia would be happy if the Southern Corridor did not happen, but I think at this point it's a fait accompli - it will happen," he said.
The question will be how much the Southern Corridor can expand beyond the currently planned quantities of 10 billion cubic meters to Europe and six billion cubic meters to Turkey, according to Morningstar.
"It is also a question of whether there will be other gas sources that can put gas into that pipeline system," he said.
The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for the EU. It envisages the transportation of gas from the Caspian Sea region to the European countries through Georgia and Turkey.
At the initial stage, the gas to be produced as part of the Stage 2 of development of Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field is considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor project. Other sources can also connect to this project at a later stage.
As part of the Stage 2 of the Shah Deniz development, the gas will be exported to Turkey and European markets by expanding the South Caucasus Pipelin and the construction of Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline.
Talking about the prospect of Iranian gas running through the Southern Gas Corridor, Morningstar said that it depends on many factors.
"First of all, the nuclear agreement has to be implemented, sanctions have to be removed, and if they are, there's a possibility that Iranian gas could go into the Southern Corridor. But it's not clear that's what Iran wants to do," he said.
Morningstar mentioned that there have been statements out of Tehran that gas would go to the region, but also maybe on to Asia. LNG is also a likely way gas will initially leave Iran, he said.
"It's possible the Southern Corridor could be utilized, but it is absolutely not clear that is what Iran wants to do with its gas. We'll have to wait and see," Morningstar added.