Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev inaugurated the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project on June 12 in central Turkey.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı attended the ceremony to open the project, which will play a key role in maintaining the energy security of Europe. The opening ceremony also hosted state heads, ministers, executives of energy companies and senior bureaucrats from shareholder countries.
“This project is a product of a close friendship between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Transit countries have also played a key role. With this project, gas from Azerbaijan will be carried to Europe for the first time,” said Erdoğan, adding that close cooperation between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia have brought the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline in the past.
TANAP is not only important for maintaining energy security, but also for improving welfare in the countries it the pipeline runs through, Erdoğan said.
He added that the project would make a great contribution to peace and stability in the region, thanking to the United States and the European Union for their support to the project.
“We are moving one step closer to becoming an energy hub with this project,” the Turkish president also said.
The 1,850 kilometer TANAP project aims to transport natural gas produced in Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz-2 gas field in the Caspian Sea and in other fields in the south of the Caspian Sea first to Turkey and then to Europe.
In the project, Azerbaijan’s SOCAR has a 51 percent stake, Turkey’s BOTAŞ has 30 percent, BP has 12 percent, and SOCAR Turkey has 7 percent.
TANAP is the central and longest section of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC). The main aim of the SGC is to connect the giant Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to Europe through the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), TANAP, and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The SCP runs from Azerbaijan to Turkey through Georgia and the TAP starts in Greece and runs to Italy through Albania and the Adriatic Sea.
TANAP will run from the Turkish border with Georgia, beginning in the Turkish village of Türkgözü in the Posof district of Ardahan, through 20 provinces including Kars, Erzurum, Erzincan, Bayburt, Gümüşhane, Giresun, Sivas, Yozgat, Kırşehir, Kırıkkale, Ankara, Eskişehir, Bilecik, Kütahya, Bursa, Balıkesir, Çanakkale, Tekirdağ and Edirne until it ends at the Greek border in the İpsala district of Edirne.
From this point is where the TAP will connect to convey natural gas to European nations. Two off-take stations are located within Turkey for national natural gas transmission, one located in Eskişehir and the other in Thrace. With 19 kilometers running under the Sea of Marmara, the main pipeline within Turkey will reach a total of 1,850 km, along with off-take stations and aboveground installations.
The pipeline, with an investment of around $8.5 billion, will deliver 6 billion cubic meters of gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey and 10 billion to Europe per year. The European part of the project is expected to become operational in 2020.
Late in May, Azerbaijan inaugurated a terminal that is planned to be the starting point of the SGC.
Aliyev praised support from the United States, Britain and the EU and noted “strong regional cooperation between Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Georgia” in implementing the project involving three pipelines.