TAP pipeline project 92 percent completed
The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the most complex gas value chains, which aims to increase and diversify the European energy supply by bringing Azerbaijan’s gas resources to markets in Europe. Stretching over 3,500 kilometers, crossing seven countries and involving more than a dozen major energy companies, it is comprised of several separate energy projects representing a total investment of approximately US$40 billion. The Southern Gas Corridor comprises the following four projects: operation of Shah Deniz natural gas-condensate field and its full-field development, the operation of the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) and its expansion (SCPX), the construction of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). On May 29, 2018, the Southern Gas Corridor was launched in Baku, and the TANAP gas pipeline, an important part of the corridor in Eskisehir, was launched on June 12. On June 30, 2018, the first commercial gas was shipped to Turkey via the TANAP pipeline. The SCP expansion, which is part of the full-scale Shah Deniz development project, was launched in 2013 and the pipeline was commissioned in 2018.
TAP project is one of the priority energy projects for the European Union (EU). The project envisages transportation of gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz Stage 2 to the EU countries. Connecting with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Greek-Turkish border, TAP will cross Northern Greece, Albania, and the Adriatic Sea before coming ashore in Southern Italy to connect to the Italian natural gas network.
The foundation of the TAP pipeline was laid on May 17, 2016, in Thessaloniki, Greece. The initial capacity of TAP is 10 billion cubic meters per year, which is expected to increase to 20 billion cubic meters in the future. TAP will provide about 33% of Bulgaria's, 20% of Greece's and 10.5% of Italy's gas demand. The project also provides great opportunities for the delivery of Azerbaijani gas to major European markets such as Italy, Germany, France, the UK, Switzerland, and Austria. Although the process is generally predicted to be completed by 2020, this has not happened yet.
According to economic expert Parviz Heydarov, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which will transport natural gas to Europe, is 92 percent completed. He noted that the pipeline is currently under construction. "Every day hundreds of meters of TAP’s Right of Way (ROW) are cleared, strung, welded, lowered into the trenches and backfilled, in line with the project construction steps and schedule. Gas transportation started in the Greek part of TAP in November last year, receiving two kilometers of natural gas between the Euros River and the compressor station in Cyprus. This is the initial stage of the pipeline commissioning, which aims at ensuring that the pipeline infrastructure is completely safe and ready for operation after completion and that it complies with national and international security and operational standards. The next step of the transportation of Caspian natural gas from the Shah Deniz 2 field to Europe will be gas supplies into the pipeline system, which is expected to be completed and tested for commercial use of TAP by October 2020, ie when the Italian part of the project will be launched. The capital expenditure on this project is € 4.5 billion. The pipeline runs through three European countries - Greece, Albania, and Italy,” said the expert.
Heydarov said TAP, as a fourth segment of the Southern Gas Corridor, could, in fact, be ready so far. "The first segment is the Shah Deniz-2 project; the second is the South Caucasus Pipeline, the third TANAP, and the last TAP. There would have been no SCP, TANAP, and TAP without Shah Deniz-2. While the SCP project laid the foundations for TANAP, the latter made TAP inevitable. The Southern Gas Corridor is a huge strategic infrastructure project. Its first part was launched in May 2018. On June 12, the official opening of TANAP with the participation of the Azerbaijani and Turkish presidents was held in Eskisehir, Turkey. As a whole, by the end of 2018, one billion cubic meters of gas was exported via the pipeline. The construction of the Southern Gas Corridor through Turkey was completed on November 30 last year with the opening of the TANAP - Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline connecting Europe with Turkey. This meant that the second and final stage of the project was completed. That is, the part of the pipeline connecting with Europe is complete. The only thing left is its integration into TAP, which will be resolved at the beginning of the last quarter of this year,” he pointed out.
"The Southern Gas Corridor project is designed to deliver 16 billion cubic meters initially, but it has the potential to double its transmission capability in the future,” the economic expert added. "The Southern Gas Corridor still unites seven countries - Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, and Italy. And three more Balkan countries - Montenegro, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and Croatia – are due to join this list. In other words, Azerbaijani gas will be exported to more countries in the future. As for our revenues, it is expected to be over $ 100 billion.”