A Commission official confirmed yesterday that Gazprom can use the Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP) to move gas, if the Russian export monopoly builds the ‘Turkish Stream’ pipeline and brings gas to Greece.
Brendan Devlin, Advisor in the Commission’s DG energy, argued that it was unlikely another big pipeline except for the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) would appear in South Eastern Europe, because “the markets are too small” in the region. He was speaking at a conference on “post-South Stream”, organised by the Martens Centre for European Studies.
The SGC refers to the three pipelines, including TAP, which will bring Azeri gas to the EU. They are: the South Caucasus Pipeline Extension from Shah Deniz via Azerbaijan and Georgia; the TANAP pipeline via Turkey; and the TAP pipeline starting from Greece and taking the gas further across Albania and an offshore section in the Adriatic to Italy.
The first gas is expected to flow via SGC in 2019 - 2020. A branch is expected to take Azeri gas from Greece to Bulgaria and further north.
Russia has recently cancelled its South Stream pipeline project. It would have supplied gas to Europe via Bulgaria, while bypassing Ukraine. Instead, Russia plans to build ‘Turkish Stream”, bringing gas to Turkey and then to a hub at the Greek-Turkish border.
As the Russian ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov recently explained, Russia had changed tactics. Instead of building pipelines, it would bring gas to the EU borders from where the customers would take it.
Russia can use the TAP from a regulatory and political perspective, for shipping its gas to the EU countries.
“It doesn’t matter who the shipper is, and we don’t care if it is Russian gas, Libyan gas, Azerbaijani gas. The internal market works like that. It’s the rules that we have set up for Russia, or for Gazprom," Devlin said.
"And as we require them to implement those rules, they are free and welcome to use pipelines in the European Union on the same basis,” he added.
Edited from various sources by Elizabeth Corner
Sources: Euractiv, Oil and Gas Eurasia