Thursday, December 13, 2012

TANAP meets EU criteria

In November 2012, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) opened a representation office in Brussels.  EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger attended the event, and signaled his potential support for the Trans Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP).  Oettinger said the European Commission continued to back the classic Nabucco pipeline through Turkey, but "the TANAP pipeline which SOCAR now promotes may also be able to satisfy the criteria of capacity requirements, dedicated infrastructure, transparency and scalability.  We are therefore eagerly waiting for the necessary agreements to be ratified by both Turkey and Azerbaijan."

The proposed pipeline has undergone several changes since it was originally proposed as a 16 billion cubic meter (bcm) gas pipeline owned 80% by SOCAR and 20% by Turkish operators.  The Azerbaijan state oil fund has agreed to co-finance the project, according to fund chief Shakhmar Movsumov.  Additional funds are being raised by diluting SOCAR's share of the project.  According to SOCAR chief Rovnag Abdullayev, BP and Statoil have each agreed to acquire a 12% share of the project, and Total will purchase 5%.  BP's involvement was confirmed by spokeswoman Tamam Bayatly.  "BP is working with other paraticipants of the project in order to speed up technical and commercial aspects of its implementation," she said.

The project will also have scalability.  According to Gulmira Rzayeva of the Azerbaijani Center for Strategic Studies, the pipeline will be built in three stages.  Each stage will increase the amount of gas that can be carried to European markets.  "It will start with 16 bcm, continue with 20 to 30 bcm and at the end reach 60 bcm.  This is a long-term perspective.  It will also allow for the connection to Central Asian gas."  Rzayeva added that TANAP's headquarters would be in the neutral location of the Netherlands.  This has the possibility of bringing the consortium under the control of the European Union, which would guarantee increased transparency of its operations.