What does Europe need: gas supplies or its diversification?

What does Europe need: gas supplies or its diversification?

Nury AMANOV

Turkish Stream project and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline that are underway are not competitors, Denis Manturov, Russian Industry and Trade Minister, said in an interview with Italian La Stampa. Azerbaijan media reports about it.

Russian initiated Turkish Stream project is meant to supply gas supply to Turkey, South and Southeast Europe. The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is a part of the Southern Gas Corridor. The TAP project envisages transportation of gas from the Caspian region (Azerbaijan) to Turkey and southern Europe.

“Turkish Stream and TAP are not competitors: the two infrastructures, which cross different countries, can in some ways be called complementary,” Manturov said.

According to him, it is incorrect to state that the Turkish Stream is an alternative to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline project. Manturov noted that TAP can transport not only Azerbaijani, but also Russian gas.

Earlier, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras also said that TAP may be filled with Russian gas as well. According to Greel Prime Minister, TAP project is 80 percent complete already. There are all necessary technical conditions to fill this pipeline with Russian gas. Tsipras added that Greece would promote this position in the meetings with European partners.

It seems to be all right, officials say the right, good things. At the same time, there is a feeling that the ideas are mixed up somehow.

Everyone knows why the Turkish Stream is being built. Great gas power Russia is building another gas pipeline to increase the supply of natural gas to Europe, in this case, to its southern and southeast part.

What the Southern Gas Corridor created for? As I understand it, it is created to supply gas from the Caspian region, in this case from Azerbaijan, to the Old World. It is just one of the goals of this project.

The second goal is to diversify gas supplies to the European market. Europeans never said that they want more natural gas; they always said that they want more gas sources, which is called diversification.

It is probably difficult for many nations to understand Europeans. Well, it would seem so simple: natural gas is delivered to your home, just live and enjoy it. But no, Europeans want diversification. They are not satisfied with the fact that one gas supplier, in this case Russia, increases its share in the European energy market. After all, that is business of the Europeans. They believe that increasing dependence on one supplier is bad, and therefore they are promoting various energy projects to have more suppliers.

The Southern Gas Corridor is one such project. It is meant to supply gas; there is nothing unusual. The project is considered as a something new due to the fact that a new gas supplier would come to the European market. Now just imagine that the Southern Gas Corridor is solemnly launched, European consumers open gas valves, and Russian blue fuel comes out of the pipe. In this case, as to Europeans, you can only say – efforts backfired on. If Azerbaijani gas would be not enough to fill the pipe of Southern Gas Corridor, then, most likely, Russian gas would join it. The Russian Federation has a lot of gas; if necessary, many other pipes, including the Southern Gas Corridor, can be filled.

However, if the goal is to diversify the gas supply in Europe, then you have to look for other sources. Of course, it would need time to find a new source. But, I think, in this case, there will not be much choice, and the Southern Gas Corridor shareholders, and, first of all, Europeans would have to think about the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline.

Here, no need to worry that Turkish Stream project and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline can be competitors in the EU market. The main thing that the competition have to be fair and bona fide.