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    Saturday, January 2, 2021

    Azerbaijani Company Starts Gas Deliveries to Europe via Southern Gas Corridor

    Azerbaijan has started commercial natural gas supplies to Europe via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the Energy Ministry said, beginning its push into the lucrative energy market dominated by Russia.

    On the final day of 2020, the first commercial gas from Azerbaijan to the European market passed through the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP), the last leg of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), according to Report, citing SOCAR ( http://socar.az/socar/az/news-and-media/news-archives/news-archives/id/11515 ).

    This is the first time Azerbaijani natural gas has been transported to the European continent through pipelines. TAP kicked off commercial operations in Italy on November 15, with the first gas delivered from Melendugno to Italy via SNAM Rete Gas (SRG) and from Nea Mesimvria to Greece and Bulgaria via DESFA on December 31.

    Direct access to Europe, the biggest global consumer of natural gas, translated into Azerbaijan’s success in diversifying its export opportunities. This is beneficial to the country’s economy, making it more independent.

    Commenting on the start of gas exports via TAP, Rovnag Abdullayev, SOCAR President, said that on that historic day he was grateful to the partner countries, companies, experts, and colleagues who had participated in the TAP, Shah Deniz-2, and Southern Gas Corridor projects and contributed to the unprecedented delivery of Azerbaijani gas to the European market. He also thanked financial institutions which had supported the endeavor and the residents of the communities where the pipelines pass.

    In addition, Mr. Abdullayev congratulated both the people of the European Union and the people of Azerbaijan, “on behalf of SOCAR, a shareholder in all Southern Gas Corridor segments, and Azerbaijani oil workers who have accomplished the historic mission [...] I warmly congratulate Azerbaijan on behalf of President Ilham Aliyev, the architect and driving force of the great project,” he said.

    As the head of SOCAR put it, “It is seven years since we made the final investment decision with our partners. We embarked on the project by inking 25-year gas purchase agreements with Europe’s gas transport companies. The construction of three 3,500-kilometer interconnected gas pipelines - something that was previously considered unfeasible - is over. Azerbaijani gas has finally reached Europe”.

    Mr. Abdullayev pointed out that “natural gas extracted from the new source and transported via the alternative route will bolster Europe’s energy security”. “The EU gas production has declined, which creates a need for more gas in the market. In this context, Azerbaijani gas will feed this demand, thus making the country more strategically important to the Old Continent”, he argued.

    As he marked the momentous event, Luca Schieppati, TAP Managing Director, said: “Today is a historic day for our project, the host countries and Europe’s energy landscape. TAP is an indispensable part of the continent’s gas network, and it contributes to the energy transit roadmap. We offer a reliable, direct, and cost-effective transportation route to Southeast Europe and beyond.”

    The summer of 2021 will mark the second phase of market research to further expand TAP and increase its capacity to 20 billion cubic meters.

    TAP represents a 878-km cross-border natural gas pipeline stretching from the Greek/Turkish border (near Kipoi) to the southern coast of Italy after crossing Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea. Connecting to the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), it delivers natural gas to the European continent from the giant Shah Deniz field located in the Caspian Sea offshore Azerbaijan.

    Interconnectors that are to be built later may enable TAP to boost gas supplies to Southeast Europe. Specifically, Bulgaria will entrench energy security by importing 33% of its natural gas needs from the pipeline. It, in turn, will increase the penetration of natural gas in the country. Moreover, the fact that TAP travels through Greece, Albania and Italy opens up opportunities for transporting Azerbaijani gas to other European countries.

    As the final leg of the Southern Gas Corridor, TAP provides Europe with reliable access to the new natural gas source and is instrumental in improving Europe’s energy security, diversifying supplies and advancing low carbon energy transition.

    TAP’s shareholders involve SOCAR (20%), BP (20%), Snam (20%), Fluxys (19%), Enagás (16%) and Axpo (5%).

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