Austrian explosion shows TAP’s importance for supply security
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec.15
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
The explosion which hit Austria’s gas hub once again showed the importance of the Trans Adriaric Pipeline (TAP) for ensuring energy supply security in Europe. Charles Ellinas, CEO of Cyprus-based energy consultancy e-CNHC told Trend.
An enormous explosion rocked a major natural gas hub in Baumgarten, Austria on Dec.12, killing an employee, injuring at least 18 people and raising concerns about tightening supplies across Europe.
The Baumgarten station, Austria’s largest entry point for natural gas, receives the product from Russia and Norway for inspection and compression, and then sends it to Austrian and other pipelines.
Ellinas pointed out that clearly despite EU's Energy Union, a major accident like this disabling a key gas hub can still cause major disruption.
“The impact in the UK was exacerbated by the closure of the Forties pipeline and reduced gas flows from Statoil's Troll field. And all these happened during a spell of cold weather. Europe requires more resilience in its gas supply system, especially Italy and the UK. For the UK the solution may be to restore gas storage, after the problems with Rough, increase interconnection and make sure Brexit does not disrupt gas flows from and to Europe. Ironically, the UK ended up importing LNG from Yamal, a project subject to US sanctions indirectly supported by the UK. This brings into question UK's security of supplies,” said the expert.
He pointed out that Italy's problem is more serious, having had to declare a state of emergency.
“Interestingly, Italy identified vulnerabilities to its gas supply system in its National Energy Strategy to 2030. Increasing flexibility of import sources and promoting new gas import pipelines to diversify supply, such as TAP, was identified as important,” said Ellinas.
This supply disruption certainly increases the importance of TAP in terms of security of supplies and diversification of supply sources, said the expert, adding that it also increases the importance of a southern supply route.
Edward Chow, a senior fellow in the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) for his part told Trend that the accident underscores how critical safety is in the oil and gas industry.
“It also demonstrates the importance of diversity of supply sources and supply routes. The Southern Gas Corridor contributes to both,” he added.
TAP is a part of the Southern Gas Corridor, which is one of the priority energy projects for the European Union. The project envisages transportation of gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz Stage 2 to the EU countries.
The pipeline will connect to the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) on the Turkish-Greek border, run through Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Italy’s south.
TAP will be 878 kilometers in length (Greece 550 kilometers, Albania 215 kilometers, Adriatic Sea 105 kilometers, and Italy 8 kilometers).
TAP’s shareholding is comprised of BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Snam S.p.A. (20 percent), Fluxys (19 percent), Enagás (16 percent) and Axpo (5 percent).
The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for the EU. It envisages the transportation of gas from the Caspian 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 projects. 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 Pipeline and the construction of Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline and Trans Adriatic Pipeline.
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