TANAP Secures First Step with Groundbreaking Ceremony
The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) has become a beacon light in both the Caspian region and Eastern Europe's energy sectors.
The 1.850 km long, key unit in the Southern Gas Corridor, which will enable a decrease in the European Union's dependence of Russian natural gas, will ship 16 billion cubic meters (BCM) of natural gas per year from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field to Turkey's western border.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place in Kars, Turkey. In attendance was Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili.
The TANAP project, which is expected to cost $10 billion, is set to commence shipments of natural gas from June 2018. Turkey will buy 6 BCM gas from the pipeline. The later part of 10 BCM will ship to Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) for the European customers from 2020.
TANAP's shipping capacity will eventually rise to 23 BCM per year by 2023, and 31 BCM per year by 2026. According to the agreement signed last Friday, Turkey's state-owned pipeline operator BOTAŞ will take a 30% stake in TANAP, while SOCAR holds 58% and BP, 12%.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that there's no alternative project against TANAP. "TANAP has a special importance because of its route and its goal and is not an alternative project to others and there is not an alternative to it. TANAP will link Europe with Caspian by the help of Southern Gas Corridor," Erdogan said. "We plan to establish Turkey as the energy distribution hub of the region."
The Southern Gas Corridor has been ongoing for decades and comprises pipelines already operating, those planned and others under evaluation. The project is designed to create infrastructure that will bring gas from the Caspian and Middle Eastern regions to Europe. Countries including Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Iraq and Egypt have been identified as potential key suppliers.
PROJECT ON TIME
"The project is going well, right on time as planned. We have already signed contracts for $3.4 billion. In coming months, we'll sign new agreements for building stations, compression units as well as off-shore contracts," TANAP General Manager Saltuk Duzyol said. "We're not expecting any delays in our timetable for linking with TAP in 2020," he said.
"TANAP will help to realise the Southern Energy Corridor to enable energy supply security for Europe," Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said. He also said that the project, which will traverse some 20 cities, will generate 5,000 jobs in Turkey.
The European Commission has strongly supported the project. Maroš Šefčovič, the Commission's Vice President in charge of the Energy Union, stated that TANAP has a strategic importance for Europe as well as Caspian region. "We are ready to support and help to realise the TANAP project," Šefčovič said in a speech at the ceremony.
Last November, Turkey and Turkmenistan signed an outline agreement to supply Turkmen gas to TANAP. Turkmenistan, a Central Asian nation of 5.5 million, holds the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas. Since independence in 1991 the reclusive desert nation has sought to break its reliance on gas exports to Russia.
To join the TANAP project, Turkmenistan will have to lay another pipeline across the Caspian Sea. Russia has strongly opposed this initiative by Turkmenistan, citing ecological concerns in the Caspian Sea.