The first deliveries of Azeri gas to Turkey via the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) will reportedly start in June.

“The first flow to TANAP is being planned for June – one month earlier,” Defne Sadiklar-Arslan, executive director and representative of Atlantic Council Turkey, told New Europe on the sidelines of the Athens Energy Forum 2018, while recalling that the Atlantic Council has hosted many important events where agreements were signed for the Southern Corridor.

“This is a project that we follow very closely not only because  it’s very important for Europe and the Southern Gas Corridor, but it is also very important for the diversification of the gas supply for Europe,” Sadiklar-Arslan said, adding that the project will lessen “Russian dependence, which is also important for the US policy”.

The Atlantic Council Turkey representative told New Europe that TANAP is being constructed in coordination with the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The gas route from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz 2 project to Europe, which consists of the South Caucasus Pipeline, TANAP, and TAP.

“In Turkey, the coordination is intact with TAP because TANAP only aims to bring gas to the Greek border and leave the rest to TAP…without that important coordination it wouldn’t make sense as only 6 bcm (billion cubic metres) from the 16 bcm will remain in Turkey, while the other 10 bcm is supposed to go Europe. Without coordination this cannot happen,” Sadiklar-Arslan said.

Asked whether the Gazprom-backed Turkish Stream pipeline or TurkStream that aims to deliver Russian gas to Turkey and onto Europe would increase dependence on Russian gas, Sadiklar-Arslan noted that reducing gas reliance on Russia “is more important for Europe and the US policywise than Turkey. On one hand, Turkey is trying to diversify its resources while also coming up with Turkish Stream. I see it as a leveraging tool in other agreements in the region…in energy contracts and so on”.

TurkStream is a new export gas pipeline stretching from Russia to Turkey across the Black Sea. The first string of the pipeline is intended for Turkish consumers, while the second string will deliver gas to southern and southeastern Europe.

“Turkish Stream goes under the Black Sea and it does not any plan to connect to TANAP at all,” said Sadiklar-Arslan, while pointing to the fact that the first branch of the Turkish Stream pipeline, which intended for the supply of Russian gas to Turkey, is becoming a reality.