-Natural gas flow from massive source areas in Azerbaijan into the European countries could be increased through the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) to ease energy supply woes across the continent, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez has said.
The annual capacity of TANAP, which is currently at 16 billion cubic meters a year, will rise to 31 bcm soon, Dönmez told reporters after a ministerial meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor (SCG) countries in Baku on Feb. 4.
Natural gas from Turkmenistan could also be pumped through TANAP once the SGC is extended eastward with the construction of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline, he added.
“Although it has not been long time since its commencement, we have started debating on increasing its capacity. When it was being designed, its future capacity was designed as 31 bcm,” said Dönmez. “We have expressed that we will support such a capacity increase. There are several demands from other countries and Europe.”
The minister also said that Azerbaijani authorities have ramped up efforts and investments to increase production at its Caspian Sea gas fields. “They have stated that they could pump more natural gas to feed this line in a short while,” he said.
The SGC includes the Shah Deniz 2 field, the South Caucasus Pipeline, TANAP and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania and Italy are the countries that are involved in the 3,500-kilometer-long project.
Currently, Turkey receives around 6 bcm of natural gas annually through TANAP. Another 10 bcm to Europe can be offset for delivery via TAP, which began the transport of commercial gas from Azerbaijan to Europe on Dec. 31, 2020.
On the sidelines of the ministerial meeting, Dönmez also met with the European Union’s energy commissioner, Kadri Simson.
Simson visited Azerbaijan on Feb. 4 in an effort to diversify the continent’s energy sources and reduce dependency on Russian gas as tensions with Moscow soar over Ukraine.
“We want the volume of gas exported from Azerbaijan to Europe to reach 10 billion cubic meters,” Simson said at a press conference after the talks.
“This project is important against the backdrop of shortages and rising prices in the energy market,” she said.
Simson and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev discussed the SCG. Officials from other European countries as well as the United Kingdom and the United States were also part of the delegation.
The Azerbaijani leader hailed a new chapter in cooperation between the EU and his country. “Cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan in the energy sphere has entered a new phase,” Aliyev said in a statement.
After a meeting with Azeri Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov earlier, Simson said on Twitter: “We agreed to step-up our partnership, both in the gas sector, but also in the field of renewables.”
Russia supplies more than 40 percent of European gas imports.
Western countries are currently trying to find alternative solutions, particularly by increasing deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG).