SGC most important diversification project for EU - expert
Tuesday, February 28In addition to rising LNG (liquefied natural gas), imports for covering Europe’s growing gas import demand, the Southern Gas Corridor is the most important gas import diversification project for the EU, Frank Umbach, Senior Associate at the Centre for European Security Strategies (CESS GmbH), Munich, told Trend.
He pointed out that this project is of particular importance for Southeastern Europe. Bulgaria, which had no gas interconnectors in the past, will now get access to Greece (Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria) and around 1 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas piped through the expanded South Caucasus Pipeline, TANAP and TAP, added Umbach.
“But most of the 10 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas to be supplied to Europe via the Southern Gas Corridor (around 8 billion cubic meters) will be shipped further to Italy. For the other Southeast European countries, therefore, it is of utmost important to build the Ionian Adriatic Pipeline (IAP),” said the expert.
He noted that Bosnia, Croatia and Montenegro have just expressed their interest to connect to the IAP and the Southern Gas Corridor to enhance energy supply security, diversification of imports and, therewith, national and regional gas competition – a pre-condition for modest gas prices and economic competitiveness as well as development.
Further, Umbach said that together with Turkey, Azerbaijan has played the key role in promoting TANAP.
“The project has been unique in many ways as it has also opened markets, increased transparency and increased interregional gas competition,” he said. “The cooperation between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and the EU, as well its member states in Southeastern Europe has not only boosted their gas exports and imports, and, therewith, their economic and social development, but as well as those of Georgia, Turkey and the EU countries.”
If gas supplies from Turkmenistan would become available by building the Trans-Caspian pipeline, the regional energy cooperation could also been widened with Turkmenistan and, theoretically, also Kazakhstan, according to Umbach.
Azerbaijan would also benefit by getting transit fees for Turkmen gas supplies to Europe, he added.
Frank Umbach, who is also a consultant of NATO on energy security and has participated repeatedly at Azerbaijan-NATO experts’ workshops/conferences, noted that the Southern Gas Corridor project and the future Azerbaijani gas supplies have also increased the foreign and security policy ties between Azerbaijan and the EU, as well as NATO.
On Feb. 23, Baku hosted the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council Third Ministerial Meeting.
The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for the EU. It envisages the transportation of gas from the Caspian region to the European countries through Georgia and Turkey.
At the initial stage, the gas to be produced as part of the Stage 2 of development of Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field is considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor projects. Other sources can also connect to this project at a later stage.
As part of Stage 2 of the Shah Deniz development, the gas will be exported to Turkey and European markets by expanding the South Caucasus Pipeline and the construction of Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline and Trans Adriatic Pipeline.