Pipe issue: Which gas to bring the Southern Gas Corridor to the European Union?

Pipe issue: Which gas to bring the Southern Gas Corridor to the European Union?

Russia is considering the option of using the Trans Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP), the final leg of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) for pumping Russian gas in addition to other sources. It was told by Anatoly Yanovsky, Deputy Energy Minister of Russia, in an interview with Trend.

“We are, in fact, talking about a complementary cooperation just like the agreement between Gazprom Export and Azerbaijani SOCAR on the supply of Russian gas,” TREND reports citing to Yanovsky.

Of course, Russia as a rich country can supply gas not only for SGC, but to others gas systems also – just deal with its construction. Here is another issue on desire of Europeans to diversify the gas supply of the Old World. What would Brussels think if the SGC will supply Russian gas, or, better saying, a mixture of Azerbaijani and Russian gas?

In all probability, it can be predicted that the European Union would not be delighted. Russia plays an important role in the gas supply of Europe, and this role would probably increase. According to the media reports, in 2018, the share of Gazprom’s gas supplies to the EU countries and Turkey has reached an all-time high and totaled 36.7 percent. Russia is accounting for more than one-third of gas deliveries to the Europe. A little more and this figure will reach 40 percent. It has always been a cause of concern for Europe.

That is why Brussels considers the SGC project to be very relevant for its energy security. It is not by chance that the Azerbaijani media called the main “intrigue” of the meeting of Ministers within the SGC Advisory Council, held in Baku, the possible accession of Turkmenistan to the SGC through the construction of Trans-Caspian pipeline under the Caspian Sea.

During the meeting, Turkmenistan received an invitation from the EU and Azerbaijan to join the SGC project. According to the Caspian Gazette, the Minister of Energy of Azerbaijan, Parviz Shahbazov, said on this issue that an agreement between supplier and gas buyer is necessary to transport Turkmen gas.

Gunther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, acting co-chair of SGC Advisory Council, also expressed his point of view on this issue. He welcomed the participation of Turkmenistan at the forum held in Baku. According to him, since Azerbaijan is already delivering gas through Georgia and Turkey to Europe, it increases the prospects for the subsea project under the Caspian Sea to deliver Turkmen gas from the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea. Oettinger emphasized that it would be possible to talk about the implementation of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project when Ashgabat presents its position on this project.