Amid aims to become a major energy transit route and a key player in regional energy production, Turkey has accelerated efforts to complete the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) with projected costs now lowered by $3.2 billion and the first delivery of gas slated for June of this year.
Pointing out that 77 percent of the section of the "phase-zero" TANAP line running from the Turkish-Georgian border to Eskisehir has already been completed, Saltuk informed that this section of the line will make the first delivery of gas to BOTAS, adding that officials will focus on the construction of the stations during the summer months, noting that nearly all preliminary activities required for "phase zero" of TANAP production have been completed. "We plan to make our first gas delivery right at the end of June, if everything goes according to schedule regarding the project. We are keeping costs relatively low and have slashed a total of $3.2 billion from the total budget," Saltuk noted.
TANAP General Director Saltuk Düzyol said 80 percent of mega projects are completed with a delay and cost overruns, saying, "However, we are seeing a decrease in costs and it seems that the project will finish before its projected date. This is a sign of the political support that the project has received. I think we will continue to make progress on the TANAP project with an even more stable environment after the April 16 [referendum]."
Saltuk spoke with a group of journalists answering questions about TANAP, a project that will transfer natural gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz-2 site to Europe via a line of 850 kilometers (528 miles) across Turkey.
Gas to be delivered to Europe by mid-2019
Responding to a question regarding the effects of the problems experienced in Europe on the European leg of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), Düzyol said there are no negative effects at this time.
Recalling that there are three separate projects parallel to each other as pipelines, Düzyol noted that both TANAP and the South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion project are continuing according to schedule. "We think that there may be some delay with TAP but it is not clear yet. We will get ready to provide gas to Europe by mid-2019. However, it's hard to say anything definite about when the gas will be delivered to Europe," Düzyol said, highlighting that initial dates reported to them were as early as 2020 but adding that there may be foreseeable delays in that project.
With regards to the referendum, Düzyol said that political stability also brings economic stability, and the healthy execution of mega projects like TANAP is linked to political stability, above all else. Suggesting that at the current point of the project the tremendous efforts and visionary approaches of the two countries' presidents have also been influential, he said: "I anticipate that political support from the two countries will continue to increase after the referendum. However, such large projects are not so profoundly affected by cyclical events and we are planning long-term strategic investments," Düzyol said. "We are investing in the future of Turkey. TANAP is a project that is owned by everyone."
Stressing that many mega projects have not received the same level of support as TANAP, Düzyol said the project is moving faster than expected thanks to support from backers, citing the circular signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and intergovernmental agreements. "The progress TANAP has seen so far is indicative of this support. Such mega projects are usually completed with a 75-to-80 percent delay and budget overruns but we are also seeing a decrease in costs, and it seems that the project will be completed before its projected date," Düzyol said, adding that this is a sign of the political support that the project has received. "I think we will continue our project in an even more stable environment after April 16."
The first gas flow through TANAP will take place in 2018. Officials aim to gradually increase the pipeline's transportation capacity in stages, from the initially projected 16 billion cubic meters per year to 24 billion cubic meters and 31 billion cubic meters.