Azerbaijan has started its commercial deliveries of natural gas to Europe via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the Energy Ministry said Thursday, beginning its push into the lucrative Russian-dominated energy market.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry announced Friday that the transfer of Azerbaijani gas to Italy via the Trans Adriatic pipeline has started.
The pipeline, which was completed in 2019 after four and a half years, will be connected to the Trans Adriatic pipeline. The Trans Adriatic pipeline is the European part of the Southern gas corridor, which aims to transport gas to Europe from the Caspian Sea and the Middle East.
In this way it is possible to transfer gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in the Caspian Sea to Europe near the coast of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Ankara described the beginning of the transfer of Azerbaijani gas to Italy as “the beginning of a new chapter in Turkey’s role in ensuring energy security” in Europe.
According to Reuters, Russia controls 34% of the European gas market and plans to increase gas exports to Europe, including Turkey, to 183 billion cubic meters (bcm) next year, up from 171-172 billion cubic meters expected this year.
TAP is part of the $40 billion Southern Gas Corridor, which stretches 3,500 km from Azerbaijan to Europe and draws from Azerbaijan’s giant Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea.
The project is supported by the European Commission as part of efforts to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy.
Azerbaijan aims to supply European gas markets with 10 Gm3 of gas per year, of which 8 Gm3 to Italy and 2 Gm3 to Greece and Bulgaria. It already supplies gas to Turkey.
“The Southern Gas Corridor will strengthen the global energy security system. It has connected the Caspian region to Europe,” the Energy Ministry said in a statement.
TAP stakeholders are BP (20%), SOCAR (20%), Snam (20%), Fluxys (19%), Enagas (16%) and Axpo (5%).
The first phase of the Shah Deniz field started production in 2006, delivering more than 10 bcm of gas per year to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.
The second phase started production in 2018, adding 16 bcm of gas production capacity at its peak to bring the total capacity to 26 bcm of gas.
by Xavier Cuesta – European Correspondent – VN