In a key step towards completing the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) that will reduce the EU’s reliance on Russian gas supplies, Turkey and Azerbaijan have officially opened the Trans Anatolian Pipeline or TANAP, which will bring Caspian gas to Europe.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, inaugurated the project in Turkey’s Central Anatolian city of Eskişehir on June 12. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic were also in attendance.
TANAP, which will deliver 6 billion cubic meters of gas per year to Turkey and 10 billion cubic meters to Europe after it is connected to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) at the Turkey-Greece border, is part of Turkey’s ambition to become a key energy hub.
European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič hailed the opening of TANAP, noting that the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline, together with the South Caucasus Pipeline and TAP, is an essential part of the Southern Gas Corridor. It is also the longest part of this infrastructure project. The European Commission said that the inauguration of TANAP on June 12 therefore marks a key milestone, as Caspian gas can now flow to Turkey on a commercial basis.
“Today, we are turning intentions into reality and delivering another tangible result under the Energy Union,” Šefčovič said. “By helping diversify our energy suppliers and routes, the Southern Gas Corridor is strategically important for the EU’s energy security, including in the most vulnerable parts, such as South-East Europe and Southern Italy. We all stand to gain from this ‘bridge’ between the Caspian region and the EU market. It is in our joint interest to make it a success.”
Šefčovič reiterated that the EU’s long-term objective is to create a pan-European energy market based on free trade, competition and diversified supplies, sources and routes. “This shows that the Energy Union does not stop at the EU’s borders and it has a strong external dimension. Only like this can it be truly resilient.
“I trust that the construction of the TAP, a European section of the Southern Gas Corridor, will continue to progress also thanks to the continuous support of the three national governments involved so that Caspian gas reaches the EU by 2020. It will bring significant benefits to its host, transit and destination countries, including their local communities – in terms of investment, jobs as well as lower energy prices for consumers and transition to low-carbon economies,” Šefčovič said.
The Southern Gas Corridor at present consists of the giant Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan, the South Caucasus Pipeline and its expansion through Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey; the construction of the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) through Turkey to Greece; and the construction of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) through Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Southern Italy.