Oil major BP has confirmed plans to start shipping natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe by the end of the year, as concerns about the military conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region have heightened.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been involved in the worst fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh since a 1991-94 war, prompting international diplomatic efforts to stop the conflict.
London-based BP is a shareholder in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), part of the Southern Gas Corridor project, designed to export energy from Azerbaijan’s offshore Shah Deniz field to Europe.
It said in a statement the commissioning of TAP and the interconnecting pipeline built by Snam Rete Gas was expected to be ready in November.
“This will allow the Shah Deniz Consortium to finalize the final steps required to start the 25 year-long supplies of natural gas from Azerbaijan to customers in Italy, Greece and Bulgaria as planned by the end of 2020,” BP said.
The $40 billion Southern Gas Corridor will draw from Azerbaijan’s giant Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea and has the backing of the European Commission as it seeks to curb Europe’s dependence on Russian energy.
From the fully completed Southern Corridor, Turkey will receive additional 6 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Azeri gas per year, while 10 bcm is earmarked for Europe.
The total capacity of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), the central part of the Southern Gas Corridor passing through 20 provinces of Turkey, will rise to 24 and 32 bcm gradually from the current level of 16 bcm.
Construction almost completed
The TAP project is substantially complete after almost 4.5 years since the start of construction, the TAP company announced on Oct. 12.
According to a company statement, the TAP pipeline has been filled with natural gas from the Greek-Turkish border up to the pipeline-receiving terminal in southern Italy.
“TAP is currently finalizing preparations for launching the commercial operations and offering capacity to the markets,” the company said.
It added that the interconnection point between the TAP pipeline and the natural gas transmission system of Snam Rete Gas in Puglia, Italy, is due for completion and should be ready to transport gas by mid-November 2020.
The 878-kilometer-long pipeline connects with TANAP at the Turkish-Greek border in Kipoi, crosses Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in southern Italy.
“TAP’s routing can facilitate gas supply to several South Eastern European countries. TAP’s landfall in Italy provides multiple opportunities for further transport of Caspian gas to the wider European markets,” the statement read.
As a key part of the Southern Gas Corridor, TAP is strategically and economically important to Europe and essential in providing reliable access to a new source of natural gas.
“TAP plays a significant role in boosting Europe’s energy security, supply diversification, as well as decarbonization objectives,” the company underlined.
TAP’s shareholding consists of BP, SOCAR and Snam, each with a 20 percent share, Fluxys with 19 percent, Enagas with 16 percent and Axpo with 5 percent.
Hurriyet Daily News