Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on June 12 turned a valve to declare open the $8bn and 1,850-km Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) that connects with an extension of the 700-km South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) to bring supplies of gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey via Georgia.
Once TANAP is connected to the currently under construction 878-km Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)—to run from Greece to Albania and then onwards to Italy via an undersea route—the trio of pipelines will make up the long-sought-after $40bn and 3,500-km Southern Gas Corridor (SGC). It may serve as a notable advance in the European Union’s efforts to reduce its dependence on Russian gas—if targets are fulfilled the SGC could be delivering around 4% of the bloc’s gas supplies by the early 2020s and, after capacity expansions, could add several more percentage points to that share in subsequent years.
Russia is attempting to compete with the SGC by constructing the TurkStream pipeline (sometimes referred to as Turkish Stream), forks of which will by late 2019 send gas to Turkey and Bulgaria via Black Sea routes, according to plans. The aim is to further distribute TurkStream gas that arrives in the Bulgarian gas hub in Varna to Southern and Central European markets.
Erdogan said at the pipeline opening ceremony that TANAP gas deliveries to Greece would begin in June 2019. “We have opened our natural gas pipeline and [gas supplies] are now being sent to it. May it go well,” said Erdogan, while standing next to Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. “We are moving one step closer to becoming an energy hub with this project,” he added.
Aliyev praised the US, UK and EU for backing the TANAP project and commended “strong regional cooperation between Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Georgia” in implementing it.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci also attended the launch.
Giant Shah Deniz II
The SCG—with a current 7 bcm annual capacity, which is gradually being increased to 23 bcm—will mainly draw gas from Azerbaijan’s giant Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea. TANAP is expected to reach an annual 16bn cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas in its first stage. Some 10 bcm of that will be earmarked for Europe and 6 bcm for Turkey.
“We aim to increase TANAP’s capacity first to 22 bcm depending on demand and then to 31 bcm with additional investments,” Erdogan said.
TAP’s capacity will be 10 bcm initially, rising to 20 bcm.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said last November that EU natural gas consumption in 2016 grew 7% y/y to stand at more than 460 bcm. The increase was driven by power generation but subsequent years were unlikely to see higher gas demand, it added. McKinsey Energy Insights data show that in 2017 natural gas imports to the EU grew 5.5% y/y to 408.7 bcm, with Russia supplying more than 40%.
The two forks of TurkStream are expected to have an annual capacity of 15.75 bcm.
TANAP project director Polad Rustamov told Reuters in May that first commercial deliveries of gas to Turkey would begin on June 30. He added that gas volumes would be supplied to Turkey gradually, starting with 2 bcm a year, rising to 6 bcm by June 2021. Capacity could be boosted to 31 bcm by 2026, Rustamov also noted.
TANAP’s shareholders are Azerbaijani state energy company Socar (51%), Turkey’s Botas (30%), BP (12%) and Socar Turkey (7%).
In the longer run, TANAP could conceivably transport additional volumes of gas from Iran, Iraq, Turkmenistan and Russia.
TANAP extends across 20 provinces of Turkey, with 19 km running under the Sea of Marmara.
Partners in the TANAP project received $3.75bn in loans from international finance institutions, including the World Bank, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The European Union provided a grant of $10.2mn.
Around 80% of the pipes used in the project were purchased from Turkish suppliers, while 20% were imported from China.