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Sunday, December 11, 2016

The TAP gas pipeline has allowed all that has forbidden Gazprom


“Historical” referred to in the European Commission the day of the start of construction of TAP gas pipeline, which is designed to supply gas to southern Europe from Azerbaijan. EK implies that thus diversify fuel sources. In fact, the project is another illustration of the double standards of the West: to the similar projects of Russia European bureaucrats used completely different approaches.

Greece officially launched the construction of the TRANS Adriatic pipeline (TAP) project, which envisages the supply of Azerbaijani gas to Europe via Greece. Vice-President of the European Commission Maros sefcovic said that the day of the start of construction of the historical. According to him, the project is very important, as the pipeline means greater energy security of Europe.

“Joyful statements by maroš Šefčovič on the possibility to increase gas supplies from 10 to 20 billion cubic meters, while TAP look no more than dreams”

“We expect that gas supplies from the Caspian sea region will be able to come to Europe in 2020. But the “southern gas corridor” can be expanded to transport more than 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year, which initially planned. We will be able in the future to get more gas from the Caspian and Central Asian countries like Turkmenistan,” – said Vice-President of the EC.

Benefit from TAP get Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and Italy. But most of all win, of course, would be Greece: from 880 kilometers total length of 540 kilometers of pipeline will be held on its territory. No wonder Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that the TAP gas pipeline means a new era for his country. Greece not only gets access to the reserves of the Caspian gas due to pipe it becomes an energy hub in the region. Tsipras waits for 1.5 billion euros investment in the country through this pipe. For those in the crisis of Greece is a lot of money. This will benefit the Greek industry, as the construction will attract Greek companies. Finally, thanks to this construction work will get 8 thousand people.

Enjoy the project and Bulgaria, which has already built the first phase of the Interconnector, Greece – Bulgaria”. “One of the main priorities of the Bulgarian government is to diversify sources and routes of supply of natural gas. For Bulgaria, the construction of the Interconnector with Greece is a priority,” said Minister of energy of Bulgaria Temenujka Petkova.

The technical capacity of the Interconnector, Greece – Bulgaria (IGB) was supposed to be 3-5 billion cubic meters of gas per year. But now talking about the possibility to increase it to 10 billion. According to the plan, gas jumper needs to be put into commercial operation in 2018.

Their benefits will also Albania. So far it has been isolated from EU energy networks, but thanks to the TAP will be able to join the regional power grid. Not to mention the fact that the country will be able to help out approximately one billion euros in foreign direct investment, new jobs and additional tax payments, like other project participants. And, of course, Albania will be able to deliver gas to the power network of the Western Balkans.

But, whatever boasted Maros sefcovic, with the help of this pipeline and Azerbaijani gas to Europe will not be able to abandon Russian gas.

For starters, the timing of the emergence of Azerbaijani gas to southern Italy every year move. First it was about 2018, now about the year 2019. In fact it may take another couple of years. Because the development of the second stage of Shah Deniz field (the resource base of TAP) is not quite as smooth. On March 1, 2016 work on the implementation of the project completed only 66%, said BP-Azerbaijan. “There is a great deal behind schedule, and it seems that this project already flows beyond 2020. Taking into account the General economic situation, I think, really, the Azerbaijani gas will go to Europe until 2022”, – evaluates the head of the national energy security Fund Konstantin Simonov.

Finally, it is about the supply from Azerbaijan for TAP only 10 billion cubic meters of gas, of which some 80% will go to Italy. Whereas in Eastern Europe – in Bulgaria and Greece – will come only 2 billion cubic meters. The issue of the gas pipeline for the EU initially consisted in the diversification of gas supplies. But what kind of diversification can there be a speech? The market Italy and so diversified, unlike Bulgaria and Greece. Italians buy natural gas from many sources: Algeria, Qatar, Norway, the Netherlands, Libya, and finally from Russia. A third gas Italy buys from Algeria, about 40% (25 billion cubic meters) – Russia.

Therefore, we cannot say that in four or five years, when Italy will finally get 8 billion cubic meters of gas from Azerbaijan, it will cease the same to buy from Gazprom. Even if the Azerbaijani gas is (which is doubtful) cheaper than Gazprom’s. Italy will be more profitable to refuse, for example, from more expensive LNG from Qatar or Algeria, which is traditionally inferior in price to Russian gas.

So Gazprom may not lose market share in Italy with the arrival of Azerbaijan. All depends on price policy. Finally, Russia at the end of 2015 put into Europe nearly 160 billion cubic meters of gas. Therefore, 10 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas cannot have any serious eect on the position of Gazprom, in General at the situation in the European market.

Joyful statements by maroš Šefčovič on the possibility to increase gas supplies from 10 to 20 billion cubic meters, while TAP look no more than dreams, so as not confirmed by the capabilities of the resource base. Azerbaijan to give more could not, and still need to find and start developing new fields in Turkmenistan, Iraq or somewhere else. The only one who now can easily provide an additional volume of fuel is Gazprom.

The American trail

The launch ceremony was attended not only by official representatives of the European Union, but senior officials from Greece, Turkey, Albania, Italy and Bulgaria.

There were here and without the United States, which seemed to have no commercial relationship to this project do not have. From them was the special envoy of the US state Department Amos Hahsta. The same man who just a week ago, brainwashed by the EU about the Russian pipeline: the U.S. state Department doesn’t want the EU has invested in the construction of the Nord stream – 2″.

But the project is a competitor to the Russian pipelines in the South Europie States approved, so its build, despite all the nuances. For example, the fact that it violates the rules of the Third energy package of the EU. To close the “South stream” such an argument was enough. But when we are talking about TAP, all these violations are not fundamental.

For comparison: in “the southern stream” Gazprom was shareholder of half of the onshore part of the pipe on the European territory, meaning it was both gas producer and Transporter, which technically violates the rules of the Third energy package. TAP in the same situation, only slightly veiled. Formally, the development of the field and the shareholder of TAP are different companies. But if you look closely, it is clear that it is not: field development the international consortium led by BP-Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani state company SOCAR and the major shareholders of TAP project are all the same BP and SOCAR (they have 20% in the pipe).

Another example of double standards: the EC has allowed Azerbaijan’s SOCAR to complete fully TAP its own gas. Although the European energy norms must be assured competitive access to the pipelines in the European territory for any gas supplier. With a pipe TAP had to act within the law in exactly the same way as OPAL (a continuation of the “Nord stream” on the European territory). Gazprom was allowed to pump gas at the OPAL only 50% of the capacity of the pipe. The rest of the half pipe left for a certain “other provider, as required by the rules of the Third energy package”. But the EC has solved this problem for TAP, issuing an exception to the rules of the Third energy package. Gazprom, no matter how asked, such concessions are not received.

The funny thing is that wanting to pump gas at the OPAL, in addition to Gazprom, no. Then how to put the fuel TAP there is a real wish. Gazprom could easily supply its gas through Greece – and in the case of the implementation of the “South stream” (through Bulgaria), and in the case of the implementation of the “Turkish stream” (through Turkey). But EK its rules struck out the Russian gas from the pipe TAP.

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