Yeni Safak – Designed to carry natural gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field to Turkey and beyond, the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline’s (TANAP) first pipe on Turkish soil has been laid with a ceremony attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili. The first flow of gas through the USD 12 billion pipeline project is expected to start by 2018, reaching 31 billion cubic meters in 2026.
Speaking at the ceremony held in the Eastern Anatolian province of Kars, Turkish President Erdogan said that the project would contribute to regional peace and stability and reinforce Turkey’s status as an energy distribution hub. “We have other energy pipeline projects with other nations; however, TANAP is strategically important as it has no alternatives. We will link the Caspian region with Europe via the Southern Gas Corridor,” Erdogan noted.
Stating that TANAP’s main partners were Azerbaijan and Turkey, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said that the Shah Deniz field would become the new main gas supply pool feeding European customers. “We have created a new partnership in Eurasia,” Aliyev said.
The natural gas from the Shah Deniz field will reach Italy via a 3500-kilometer pipeline passing through Georgia, Turkey, and Greece, providing an alternative to Russian gas. TANAP will link with the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) when it is construction is completed by 2020. Turkey holds a 30 percent stake in TANAP, with Azerbaijan holding 58 percent, and the remaining 12 percent belonging to BP.
In addition to a growing domestic energy market, Turkey’s location next to hydrocarbon-rich countries gives the country a hub status in the transportation of oil and gas to global markets.