Official opening of the “Southern Gas Corridor” took place in Baku, which can, with good reason, be called an important step on the way of Turkmen natural gas to the European energy market.
As the Russian economic news agency Prime reports, the opening ceremony was attended by the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States and Western oil and gas companies.
The Azerbaijani leader launched the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), opening a valve symbolizing the launch of pipelines, and the Sangachal terminal began the process of injecting fuel into the gas pipeline.
The project of the Southern Gas Corridor provides for the initial transportation of 10 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas to Europe, which will be produced in the second phase of the Shah Deniz gas condensate field development. Fuel supplies are expected in 2020.
And here Prime notes, at first glance, an insignificant detail, that “in the future other sources can be connected to the project”. Let’s see what lies here.
According to the independent, specialized site Natural Gas Europe, the total cost of the “Southern Gas Corridor” is about 40 billion dollars. Of these, $ 9.3 billion accounted for the Trans-Anatolian pipeline (TANAP) and $ 6 billion for the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). At the same time, most of the funds, which are $ 23.8 billion, do not even go for the construction of pipelines, but for the second stage of development of the Shah Deniz field and the expansion of the South Caucasus gas pipeline.
That is, the Azerbaijani gas, in the amount of 10 billion cubic meters per year, which should go to Europe, still needs to be found and obtained, of course, within the framework of the development of the second stage of Shah Deniz.
Meanwhile, Turkmen natural gas is already available. What kind of gas is it? Experts of the oil and gas market know that until 2009 Turkmenistan supplied to Russia about 50 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. The global economic crisis introduced its adjustments to this gas trade, trade volumes declined annually, and in 2016 Russia stopped buying Turkmen natural gas.
There is nothing unusual here, this is the law of trade. But this gas has not gone anywhere, and has not evaporated. Moreover, the Turkmen side, over the years, keeping in mind the European direction, built the East-West gas pipeline with a length of more than 700 kilometers and a capacity of 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, which allows the rapid transfer of significant amounts of blue fuel to the west and east.
You see? The East-West gas pipeline can deliver gas, which previously went to Russia, to the Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea, from where it is just a stone’s throw to Azerbaijan. Experts say that a 300-kilometer pipeline along the Caspian’s bottom will suffice to make Turkmen gas flow along the South Caucasus to the Old World. In short, no one should be deceived by the fact that the first through the TANAP pipeline through Georgia to Turkey, and further to Europe, will come gas from the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field. According to a qualified expert opinion, the “Southern Gas Corridor” will fully fulfill its mission only with the connection of Turkmen natural gas to it.
And the fact that gas, which Russia once refused, is likely to be useful to Europe, holds some regularity. Here as they say – there would be no happiness, but misfortune helped.