"Thanks to the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), which comprises the South Caucasus Pipeline, the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the European Union (EU) will begin in 2020 to import natural gas produced in the Caspian Sea. Gas from Azerbaijan will flow through Turkey, Greece, Albania, the Adriatic Sea and Italy (Azerbaijani gas is already being marketed in Turkey with TANAP)," he said.
Perrin noted that the completion of the SGC project in 2020 will allow the EU to import gas from the Caspian region for the first time.
"European countries will at the same time increase their gas imports and diversify the sources of these imports. It is also a new import route. For the European Union the diversification of its gas supplies is a global concept which includes new countries, new producing companies and new export routes and the SGC meets all these requirements. Of course the gas volumes are not huge as the starting capacity for TANAP is 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year, of which 6 bcm for Turkey and 10 bcm for the EU," noted the expert.
He pointed out that according to future gas demand in Turkey and in the EU the capacities of the SGC could be increased.
"And the SGC could also be used for gas exports to Europe from other Caspian countries, especially Turkmenistan. The Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline project is an example," said Perrin.
He noted that beyond the SGC European needs for more Caspian gas in a long-term horizon will also depend on the degree of priority that the EU will assign to gas in its future energy choices.
"A key issue for the mid-term and long-term future is the place that the EU will grant to natural gas in its future energy mix. Gas is a fossil fuel of course but its use generates less carbon dioxide than oil and much less than coal. This energy source could thus have a bright future in a world in which the carbon constraint will become more and more important in order to fight climate change. But the EU is putting a strong emphasis on renewable energies, some countries (France in particular) have a lot of nuclear reactors and coal remains very competitive. Gas could be squeezed between the rise of renewables (wind and solar energies in particular) and the resistance of coal in the European power mix. EU countries have disagreements about natural gas and it could have an impact on gas prospects in Europe," said the expert.
The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority projects for the EU and envisages the transportation of 10 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas from the Caspian region through Georgia and Turkey to Europe.
The launching ceremony of the first stage of the Southern Gas Corridor was held in Baku on May 29, 2018, while opening ceremony of TANAP’s Phase 0 was held on June 12, 2018 in the Turkish city of Eskisehir. TANAP-Europe connection was opened on Nov.30, 2019 in Ipsala, Edirne, Turkey.
Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) were connected on the Turkish-Greek border.
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