Yeni Safak – The construction work on the strategic Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) project, designed to carry Azeri gas to Turkey and Europe, is set to begin this year, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a visit to Slovakia. At a press conference with the Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, Erdogan stated that TANAP had passed through the parliaments of both Turkey and Azerbaijan, the two major partners of the project, and that construction was likely to begin in 2013.
“With no obvious progress on the Nabucco, Turkey has taken steps towards securing its energy supply and entered into an agreement with Azerbaijan. The agreement on TANAP has been ratified in the parliaments of the two countries”, Turkey’s Prime Minister said.
Envisaged as an alternative energy route to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian gas, the Nabucco pipeline was initially planned to carry 32 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year through Turkey to European customers. Due to supply problems and high costs, the project was considerably downsized last year. Turkey would be playing a pivotal role in TANAP as a major partner and would be a transit country in the scaled-down Nabucco.
Turkey and Azerbaijan signed the TANAP agreement last June with Turkey’s BOTAS and Azeri SOCAR being the major partners of the USD 7 billion project. TANAP will carry 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year, with 6 billion to be delivered to Turkey and rest to Europe. The project was later partnered by European energy companies BP, Statoil and Total, which acquired a combined 29 percent of shares late last year.