The European Union’s prosperity and security rely upon a large supply of energy. Among all the sources, natural gas plays a crucial role in the European economy and its supply is fundamental. Following the 2006 disruption in Russian gas flow, the European Commission planned to diversify its supply routes in order to increase its energy security and in 2008 it proposed the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC).
It was conceived to bring gas from Caspian and Middle Eastern regions to Europe, and to involve many partners countries such Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Iraq, and Egypt. In the following years the difficulty to include many of the supplier countries and the subsequent stalemate of the Nabucco pipeline project were hindering the realisation of Southern Corridor, thus in 2011 Azerbaijan – the producing country most interested in the project – reshaped the design of the SGC.
The core of the plan was to increase the production of the Shah Deniz gas field delivering the new flow to Turkey and finally to Europe through two consecutive pipelines. The Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) was then designed as an extension of the existing South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) to cross and supply Turkey, and in 2013 the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) was chosen as the final sector to reach Italy transiting through Greece and Albania.
The final project involves 6 countries (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Albania and Italy) for a total length of 3,500 km and its capacity could reach 31 bcm. The cumulative investments are estimated at 45 billion dollars – 25 $bn in the offshore gas project and 20 $bn in the construction of transit pipeline.
This plan for the Southern Corridors rely for its supply mainly on the Shah Deniz gas field, nevertheless other producing countries can join the project at a later stage since it allows for the possibility to increase the capacity of the pipelines. The scalability of the infrastructures makes the plan very attractive for the European Union, whose energy strategy aims at a substantial diversification of the suppliers.
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