On 11 July, Turkish President Abdullah Gul ratified an intergovernmental agreement on implementation of the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline project (TANAP). Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed an intergovernmental agreement on implementation of the TANAP pipeline project on 26 June. Baku and Ankara signed a memorandum of understanding in December 2011 to establish a consortium that will build a gas pipeline to deliver gas from the Azerbaijani offshore field Shah Deniz to Europe via Turkey. At present, a 20% share in TANAP belongs to Turkish BOTAS, 80% and Azeri state oil and gas company SOCAR. The initial capacity of the pipeline is expected to reach 16bn cubic metres a year. About 6bn cubic metres will be delivered to Turkey and the rest to Europe.
TANAP will be linked up with either the Nabucco West link or the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to deliver the fuel to the EU from the Turkish border. The BP-led Shah Deniz group will choose between the two links in June 2013. On 28 June, BP and its partners in Shah Deniz on 28 June selected the Nabucco West pipeline over the South-East Europe Pipeline (SEEP) as a potential export route to Europe from the northern route.
Nabucco Gas Pipeline International proposed the Nabucco-West concept, a shorter version of the pipeline from the Turkish-Bulgarian border to Austria’s Baumgarten. The pipeline will have a capacity of 20bn cubic metres. Nabucco West will be 1300 kilometres long; 412 kilometres will run through Bulgaria, 469 through Romania, 384 through Hungary, 47 through Austria.
Gulmira Rzayeva, an expert at Center of Strategic Studies, told New Europe the TANAP agreement between Azerbaijan and Turkey was signed on 26 June and just in two days Baku announced they have selected Nabucco West. “This means that the chain starting from the Turkish-Georgian border and ending to the European market in Baumgarten [Austria] is all set up. Actually they replaced Nabucco East with TANAP so now we have the entire infrastructure from one end to the other. That’s why those two developments have been almost simultaneous,” Rzayeva said.
Azeri experts have always said that Nabucco should be reconfigured otherwise it has no chance to win. “It reconfigured thanks maybe to SEEP because SEEP was an alternative on the table and that played maybe in the hands of Shah Deniz partners and SOCAR. So we had this actionable alternative -TANAP – and Nabucco had to reconfigure its previous version and that’s what we wanted,” Rzayeva said.
Meanwhile, SOCAR reportedly said that it will share its stake in TANAP only with companies involved in gas projects in the Caspian Sea nation. “Only companies participating in gas contracts in Azerbaijan will get a share of TANAP,” SOCAR President Rovnaq Abdullayev told reporters in Baku. Abdullayev said his company will soon decide which companies will get some of SOCAR’s 80% stake in the pipeline project, estimated to cost $7bn. Earlier, Abdullayev said partners in the Shah Deniz project, including BP, France’s Total and Norwegian Statoil have shown interest in joining TANAP.