Vatan - The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), passing through Greece, Albania and under the Adriatic Sea to Italy, has emerged as the winner to carry Azeri gas to European markets instead of Nabucco West, its proposed rival, taking a northern route through Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania to connect to its main hub in Austria. The operators of the Shah Deniz gas field, BP, Total, Statoil and SOCAR, opted for TAP due to its shorter route and higher gas prices in transit countries, Greece and Italy, according to the CEO of the Austrian energy company OMV, the main partner of Nabucco West. TAP is backed by Statoil, AXPO and E.ON Ruhrgas.
The Turkish-Azeri pipeline project, the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), will link with TAP on Turkey's western border with Greece, carrying natural gas to European customers.
The construction work on the strategic project is scheduled to begin in 2014, with the first flow of gas taking place in 2018. The USD 10 billion TANAP will initially carry 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas with a maximum capacity of 31 bcm.
"The selection of TAP over Nabucco West will provide significant advantages to Turkey and Azerbaijan both in economic and strategic terms.", according to Cenk Pala, a TAP Turkey representative, who added that Turkey could play an important role in new and emerging markets such as Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia, all potential receivers of TAP gas.
Turkey's BOTAS and Azerbaijan's SOCAR are the major partners of TANAP. European energy companies BP, Statoil and Total also have stakes in the 2,000 km-long pipeline project.
Located next to major hydrocarbon rich countries, Turkey plays a pivotal role in getting oil and gas to the world markets.