Russian energy giant Gazprom has expressed its interest in using the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to link the second line of the TurkStream gas pipeline as it (TAP) already has an established route, John Roberts, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center, told Anadolu Agency yesterday.
Roberts hailed the TurkStream pipeline as one that will improve Turkey's energy security because it allows for greater flexibility in gas transit to the country.
The TurkStream pipeline is an export gas pipeline stretching across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and further to Turkey's border with neighboring countries.
Of the two lines in the project, one will supply gas to the Turkish market, while the other will carry gas to southern and southeastern Europe. Each line will have the throughput capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year.
Meanwhile, Gazprom on Sunday announced that construction work at the offshore section of the TurkStream gas pipeline project has commenced in the Black Sea near the Russian coast.
Regarding TurkStream Roberts said: "It [TurkStream] does not really change the balance of gas coming to Turkey. But, the completion of expansion work on the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum system and the development of the TANAP pipeline will be big elements for change," he said.
"One of the biggest elements will be the completion of the expansion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum system and the development of the TANAP pipeline," he said.
TAP will transport natural gas from Azerbaijan's massive Shah Deniz II field to Europe.
The approximately 878 kilometers-long TAP pipeline will connect with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Turkish-Greek border of Kipoi, cross Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in southern Italy.
Roberts affirmed that the European Union will not play any role in the construction of the second line of the TurkStream project, which plans to reach EU markets through Turkey, because the construction is taking place outside the EU.
"Where the EU comes into the picture is with the termination of the second line on the Turkish border with Greece at Ipsala, which is opposite Kipoi in Greece. At that point, the question what happens to the gas in that line will be raised? The Russians have said that they would like to supply it to the EU and in some cases, this will go to customers already served by Ukraine," he said.
Roberts argued that the under-construction TAP pipeline, which travels from Kipoi all the way to southern Italy, will be important in delivery of extra capacity.
"That pipeline [TAP] is designed to have an initial capacity of 10 bcm, which has already been booked by Azerbaijan. But, it will have an additional capacity of 10 bcm. Now, that capacity under the EU regulations is available to whoever wants to book it under best commercial terms. As of around 2019-2020, whenever TAP is opened up for business, the only supplier that we can see in the horizon, capable of delivering anything like an extra 10 bcm is Gazprom, through the second line of TurkStream," Roberts said.
"There is no theoretical or legal objection to Gazprom asking for what is called an open season in which the TAP pipeline authorities have to allow it to compete. And since we would not expect anybody else to compete, we can expect a deal," he explained.
Roberts, however, argued that Gazprom would have to give about two years notice regarding its plans to pump gas into a pipeline, because although the physical pipe is there to carry the gas, extra compression is needed to push the extra gas through.
TAP would have to put in place the extra compression, which would cost billions of euros for everyone involved, according to Roberts.
"It is no small thing. So my guess is that Gazprom, which already signaled its interest in using TAP, will use TAP because of its route. If they do not, somebody has to come up with $5 or 6 billion or euros to build a brand new pipeline," he concluded.
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