BAKU, Azerbaijan, Feb.22
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
The Southern Gas Corridor is much welcome as far as the EU is concerned, Francis Perrin, Senior Fellow at the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS, Rabat) and at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS, Paris) told Trend.
He pointed out that the European Union and some other European countries (in particular Turkey) need natural gas to cover part of their energy needs over a mid to long-term period.
“At the same time, they want to diversify the sources of their gas imports. Russia is the main gas exporter to Europe and this country is also a major energy supplier (crude oil, refined products and coal) for European countries. The relationship between Russia and the EU is not very easy nowadays and it has been the case over several years. Moreover, gas exported by Russia means mainly gas exported by Gazprom, a state energy company. For all these reasons, the EU wants to increase the diversification of its gas supplies, which means other countries of origin, other gas routes and other industrial players.
The Southern Gas Corridor is much welcome as far as the EU is concerned. It involves a new supplier, Azerbaijan; it opens the way to a new gas province (the Caspian Sea region); it is a new route; and Gazprom is not in charge. This Corridor was thus logically supported by the EU and by the U.S., which is exerting strong pressures on its European allies in order for them to not become too dependent on Russia. The United States’ strong opposition to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline (Russia/Baltic Sea/Germany) is very clear in this regard.
There is a potential for expansion either through new sources of gas coming from Azerbaijan or from some other Caspian countries, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Turkmenistan holds huge gas reserves (the fourth-largest in the world). This would require the construction of a Trans-Caspian pipeline between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan,” noted Perrin.
The Southern Gas Corridor, which is comprised of Shah Deniz 2, the South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion, the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) became fully operational on December 31, 2020.
Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) AG confirmed on Dec. 31 the commencement of gas flows from Azerbaijan. The first gas has reached Greece and Bulgaria, via the Nea Mesimvria interconnection point with DESFA, as well as Italy, via the Melendugno interconnection point with SNAM Rete Gas (SRG).
TAP transports natural gas from the giant Shah Deniz field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to Europe. The 878 km long pipeline connects with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Turkish-Greek border in Kipoi, crosses Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Southern Italy.
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