* TAP group says "happy to work with TANAP"
* ITGI group says "fully compliant" with TANAP
By Henning Gloystein
LONDON, Jan 24 Competition to build
Europe's southern gas corridor intensified on Tuesday after two
leading pipeline projects said they would welcome cooperation
with the Trans Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) which aims to pump
Azeri gas through Turkey.
Three international consortia - Nabucco, TAP, and ITGI - are
vying to build the infrastructure to carry gas from Azerbaijan's
Shah Deniz II gas field to Europe.
The TAP and ITGI gas pipeline projects both welcomed
cooperation with TANAP, potentially providing the missing link
in transporting the Azeri gas through Turkey and into Europe.
"TAP will be happy to work with the developers of TANAP for
any required coordination between the two pipelines, thus
providing a fully integrated solution for the delivery of
Caspian gas to Europe," TAP's External Affairs Director Michael
Hoffmann told Reuters on Tuesday.
"For TAP it is important to have the Turkish transit piece
concluded, and ... TANAP is an ideal transportation solution
within Turkey for the delivery of Caspian gas to the western
border of Turkey with Europe," he added.
The TANAP pipeline would run from Azerbaijan to the Turkish
border with Bulgaria, and its initial capacity would be 16
billion cubic metres (bcm) a year, with 6 bcm set aside for
Turkey and 10 bcm for the rest of Europe, although the project
is designed to be expandable to 30 bcm and ultimately 60 bcm.
TAP would carry 10 bcm of Caspian gas a year along a 800-km
route, starting at Komotini near the Greek-Turkish border, going
through Greece and Albania, and ending near San Foca in Italy.
TAP's partners are Norway's Statoil, Swiss EGL
, and Germany's E.ON Ruhrgas, and Statoil is
also a partner in Shah Deniz II, alongside BP.
Also on Tuesday, the ITGI group issued a statement in which
it said its project was linkable with TANAP.
"The ITGI project starting at the Turkish-Greek border is
fully compliant with any option to transit Azeri gas through
Turkey, including TANAP," Elio Ruggeri, CEO of IGI Poseidon, the
project's operator, said.
ITGI plans to transport 10 bcm a year of gas from the
Turkish/Greek border to Italy, and its main partners are Italy's
Edison, Greece's government controlled DEPA, and
TANAP, THE MISSING LINK
The offers come a week after Germany's RWE, a
major partner in Nabucco, said the TANAP "option ... needs to be
While RWE said it would hold on to its existing pipeline
plans, it also said it was open to new cooperations.
The $5 billion TANAP pipeline would effectively duplicate
Nabucco in Turkey, and some form of cooperation between Nabucco
and TANAP could bring cost reductions, give TANAP the desired
western European partners, while building a network under
European regulations, something many western European companies
and the EU want.
"Turkey is only an observer of the European community. That
means it does not have to implement EU energy law," Marlene
Holzner, a spokeswoman for the European Commission said.
"However, we as the EU commission, hope that for any
pipeline, there will be created an international government
agreement between all member states which reflects certain
principles," she added.
All pipeline projects in the region fall into the southern
gas corridor, a project promoted by the European Union to
diversify its gas supplies away from Russia through finding new
sources in central Asia.
Because deals with Iraq, Turkmenistan and Iran are not
likely in the near future, the focus is currently on pumping
Azerbaijan's gas from its Shah Deniz II field into Europe.