Source: Socar Energy
Headline: First Commercial Gas Delivery to Europe via Southern Gas Corridor
For the first time in history, Azerbaijan’s natural gas reached the European market through a direct pipeline connection. Following the start of commercial operations on November 15, 2020, today the first gas has reached Italy, via the Melendugno interconnection point with SNAM Rete Gas (SRG), as well as Greece and Bulgaria, via the Nea Mesimvria interconnection point with DESFA.
Azerbaijan gained direct access to the European gas market – the world’s largest natural gas importer. For the country, that means an increase in national income, diversification of export routes, and a boost to its’ economic independence.
Commenting on the first gas transportation via TAP, President of SOCAR Rovnag Abdullayev, said: ”On this historic day, we express our deep gratitude to the partner companies, specialists and all our colleagues, who participated in TAP, Shah Deniz-2 and the Southern Gas Corridor projects, contributing to the first delivery of Azerbaijani gas to the European market. We thank all financial institutions that supported this project and the residents of the communities where our pipelines pass. As a shareholder in all Southern Gas Corridor segments, SOCAR is proud of the successful completion of this historic mission. On behalf of Azerbaijani oil workers, I congratulate both the people of the European Union and the people of Azerbaijan. We express our utmost gratitude and extend our congratulations to Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the author and the leader of this initiative!
Seven years ago, we made the final investment decision together with our partners. We embarked on this journey by signing 25-year gas sales agreements with European gas distribution companies. The construction of three interconnected gas pipelines across continents with a total length of 3,500-kilometer was a highly complex endeavor. Back then, some were skeptical about this project. Now the mission is accomplished – Azerbaijan’s natural gas has arrived to Europe. Coming from a new source through an alternative route, it will contribute to European energy security. We anticipate a growing demand for additional gas volumes on the European market due to the constant local production decline. Our gas will fill this gap for decades to come, and the importance of cooperation between the Old Continent and Azerbaijan will increase.”
Luca Schieppati, TAP’s Managing Director, commented: “Today is a historic day for our project, as well as for our host countries and Europe’s energy landscape. TAP is an essential part of the continent’s gas network, contributing to the energy transition roadmap. We offer a reliable, direct, and cost-effective transportation route to South East European countries and beyond.”
The second phase of the market test enabling the future expansion of TAP, doubling the pipeline’s capacity to 20bcm/a, will be launched in summer.
About the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)
TAP transports natural gas from the giant Shah Deniz field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to Europe. The 878 km long pipeline connects with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Turkish-Greek border in Kipoi, crosses Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Southern Italy.
TAP will facilitate gas supplies to South Eastern European countries through prospective interconnectors. In particular, Bulgaria will be able to cover up to 33% of its total gas demand through the TAP pipeline after the completion of interconnector to Greece. This in turn will facilitate increasing natural gas penetration rate in the country. TAP’s exits in Greece and Albania together with the landfall in Italy provide multiple opportunities for further transport of Azerbaijan gas to the wider European markets.
As a key part of the Southern Gas Corridor, TAP is strategically and economically important to Europe and essential in providing reliable access to a new source of natural gas. TAP plays a significant role in boosting Europe’s energy security, supply diversification, as well as decarbonisation objectives.
TAP’s shareholding is comprised of bp (20%), SOCAR (20%), Snam (20%), Fluxys (19%), Enagás (16%) and Axpo (5%).