Within the next six years, Azerbaijan will begin delivering its natural gas to Europe via the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline.
Fourteen years ago, the enormous Shah Deniz gas field was discovered under the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan. Last month, Azerbaijan and its partners, the multinational energy companies working the field, announced that within the next 6 years, Azerbaijan will begin delivering its natural gas to Europe via the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, or TAP. “This is a major accomplishment for Azerbaijan and a major step forward in implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor, which will deliver Caspian gas to European consumers,” said State Department Acting Deputy Spokesman Patrick Ventrell.
The announcement marks a huge milestone in European efforts to create a new, southern supply corridor that will tap into the large gas reserves in the Caspian Basin, thus lessening the continent’s dependence on Russian imports. The gas, 10 billion cubic meters a year to begin with, will flow from Azerbaijan through southern Georgia by way of the South Caucasus pipeline; then across Turkey via the planned Trans-Anatolian pipeline, or TANAP. The gas will be transferred to the TAP pipeline, which transits Greece, Albania, and Italy, thus by-passing Russia and Ukraine.
“The Southern Corridor. . . . will bring a new source of gas supply to Europe, a goal the United States strongly supports,” said Acting Deputy Spokesman Ventrell. “This reflects Europe’s efforts to diversify its energy resources, including the bold steps toward competition and trade embodied in the European Union’s Third Energy Package, [a legislative package aiming to promote greater integration and competition in the European Union’s gas and electricity markets].
“The selection of TAP as the means to link Caspian gas to Europe is another important step in the process of advancing Europe’s energy security and promoting competition in the supply of energy resources.”
Deputy Spokesman Ventrell noted the Southern Gas Corridor’s importance to global energy security. “By bringing Caspian gas to international markets, this initiative will contribute to meeting global energy demand, which is critical to sustaining economic growth. The United States sees the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor in this wider context,” he said.
“We congratulate the Government of Azerbaijan and the Shah Deniz consortium on achieving this important milestone.”