All of the transport infrastructure for the Southern Gas Corridor in Turkey has become operational. From 2020, the corridor will enable Azerbaijan to supply Europe with gas without going through Russia. The Azerbaijani state oil and gas company Socar announced on 1 July that the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) is completely ready to supply Europe with gas from the giant Shah Deniz 2 deposit in the Caspian Sea.
The 1,850 km long pipeline will receive gas entering Azerbajian through Georgia, pump it through Turkey to the western part of the country and up to the Turkish-Greek border. There, TANAP will connect to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which passes through Greece and Albania and along the bottom of the Adriatic Sea, terminating in Italy.
Italy is one of the biggest gas consumers in Europe and possesses an extensive gas transport system that TAP will be connected to. The pipeline operator company’s website states that by the end of May it was 88.2% complete. Thus the plans to commission it in 2020, rather than at the start of the following year, seem completely realistic.
Azerbaijani gas has already been supplied to Turkey through TANAP for about a year. In future, this pipeline will transport 6 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkish consumers and 10 billion to Europe every year. The project’s capacity could later be increased to 24 and even 31 billion cubic meters per annum.
The Southern Gas Corridor with the TANAP and TAP pipelines is supported by the EU, which wants to diversify the sources and transport routes of the natural gas on its market, simultaneously reducing its dependence on Russia. This transport system therefore constitutes a competitive threat to the pipelines operated by the Russian gas monopoly, Gazprom. How intense the competition will be remains to be seen.
In the near future, at least, the Russian company will supply more gas to Turkey than the Azerbaijani Socar. Since 2003, Gazprom has been supplying the central part of Turkey through the Blue Stream pipeline, with a capacity of 16 billion cubic meters per annum. Gazprom’s Turkish Stream pipeline is also nearly complete. From the start of next year, up to 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas could be supplied annually to the western part of Turkey through the first of its two lines. The other line is meant to supply Europe through Bulgaria.