[Premium] Turkey Clears ITGI to Greece, Opens Way for TurkStream
The Turkish cabinet has formally ratified an intergovernmental agreement with Greece allowing for the development of the ITGI Poseidon natural gas transit line between Turkey, Greece and Italy, according to an announcement in Turkey's official state gazette September 19.
The approval paves the way for the planned line to link up with the TurkStream pipeline which is slated to bring 15.75bn m3/yr of Russian gas to northwest Turkey for export to European markets, allowing that to be transited through Turkey and Greece and across the Adriatic to Italy.
Gazprom, which expects to flow first gas through TurkStream by end-2019, says the project once fully complete will have 31.5bn m3/yr capacity.
Ten years ago, the ITGI agreement with Greece was signed in Rome on July 26 2007 after the ITGI Poseidon project was first proposed. However it was not acted on, as the ITGI project was superseded by other transit projects, notably the Trans Adriatic gas pipeline (TAP) now under construction.
The recent cabinet approval, signed August 15, sees the agreement with Greece formally adopted into Turkish law as law 6946, affording full legal support for a gas transit route linking Turkey, Greece and Italy.
The agreement refers to the link as consisting of two component parts, the existing Turkey-Greece Interconnector (ITG) pipeline link between Turkey and Greece which was completed in 2007 and the planned Greece-Italy interconnector (IGI) proposed by Greek state gas company Depa and EDF-owned Edison, for which the joint venture company Poseidon was created, plus possible upgrades and expansions to the Turkish gas transit network operated by Turkish state company Botas.
According to the text of the agreement it allows for the creation of a transit link with a capacity of 11.6bn m3/yr through the existing ITG line and of 8bn m3/yr through the planned IGI line, able to carry gas from the Caspian, Central Asia, Middle East and North African regions and includes a protocol signed by both Greece and Italy granting exemption from obligations to allow third party access for 25 years.
The agreement allows for the planned link to supply gas to the Greek domestic market and acknowledges the commitment of the Italian government to provide the necessary authorisation to allow gas to be sold into the Italian market and transited through Italy to other European market
Ratification of the ITGI agreement with Greece follows the signing on June 2 of a cooperation agreement between Gazprom, Depa and Edison aimed at allowing the export of Russian gas arriving in northwest Turkey via the planned TurkStream pipeline through Greece and across the Adriatic to Italy and an earlier agreement between Gazprom and Edison signed with the same aim.
Russia and Turkey agreed last year to push ahead with Russia's proposed 31.5bn m3/yr TurkStream pipeline across the Black Sea to north west Turkey, which will supply 15.75bn m3/yr of gas to the Turkish domestic market -- in place of 14bn m3/yr currently delivered via the Transbalkan pipeline -- with the remaining 15.75bn m3/yr slated for export to Europe.
The ITGI Poseidon pipeline was originally proposed in the early part of the millennium with the aim of using spare capacity in Botas' gas transit system in Turkey to transit 8bn m3/yr of Azeri gas to Greece and on to Italy.
The ITG link between Turkey and Greece was completed in 2007 allowing Botas to re-export up to 1bn m3/yr of Azeri gas to Greece, but plans for the IGI Poseidon were shelved first after Azeri gas producers expressed a preference for two rival projects and subsequently Azerbaijan opted to develop its own Tanap pipeline and link that to the TAP in which Azeri state oil company Socar holds a 20% stake.