SOCAR Says Europe's Southern Gas Corridor 'Almost Ready'

SOCAR Says Europe's Southern Gas Corridor 'Almost Ready'
The Southern Gas Corridor consists of three pipelines with a total length of almost 4,000 km. (Photo: Trans Adriatic Pipeline)

The construction of the Southern Gas Corridor, a chain of pipelines linking Azerbaijan to Italy, has cost $40 billion and the project is “almost ready,” EURACTIV reported on Thursday citing Vitaly Baylarbayov, Deputy Vice President of SOCAR, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan.

According to the report, the Southern Gas Corridor’s main source of supply is the Shah Deniz field, located in the economic zone of Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea. The project consists of three pipelines with a total length of almost 4,000 km: The South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) linking Azerbaijan with Georgia, the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) across Turkey, and the Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP) linking Greece, Albania and Italy with an offshore section.

In his interview with EURACTIV, Baylarbayov said the onshore work in Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as TANAP on the territory of Turkey, is 100% complete. The completion and readiness for supplies to Europe was inaugurated in Turkey in the presence of Presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkey on November 30 last year.

“The only remaining part of the corridor is TAP, the readiness of which is 91%,” Baylarbayov said.

The SOCAR executive said Turkey has been receiving receiving gas from July 1, 2018. It received about 2 bcm in 2018, about 4 bcm in 2019, and the supplies are expected to reach about 6 bcm in 2020.

According to Baylarbayov, 2 bcm/year of gas has been reserved for Greece and Bulgaria. The volumes will be delivered once TAP enters into operation and the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector is completed by the end of 2020. For Italy, supplies are earmarked at around 8 bcm/year, the executive said.

Baylarbayov said Azerbaijan could also become a transit country for Central Asian gas, be it from Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan.

“The capacity of the SGC system allows that. The capacity of SCP and TANAP is technically expandable at least until 31 bcm, and this is commercially and legally expandable without additional negotiations with host countries,” Baylarbayov said. “The capacity of TAP can be doubled, increased by another 10 bcm. In principle, SGC capacity could be increased even further, but that would require negotiations with the host countries.”

Turkmenistan has declared its readiness to supply Europe with an annual volume of up to 30 billion cubic meters of gas. Ashgabat is currently studying the possibility of a 300-kilometer gas pipeline to be laid along the Caspian seabed to the shores of Azerbaijan.