Azerbaijan has transported 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) since the commencement of gas flows via the pipeline in December 2020.
“We are very pleased to reach this important milestone and consolidate TAP’s role as a reliable transmission system operator on the European energy landscape,” Luca Schieppati, TAP Managing Director, was quoted as saying by TAP official website.
“In addition to enabling energy security and diversification across multiple markets, the gas volumes delivered via TAP support the energy transition, especially in South-Eastern Europe.”
The amount of supplied fossil fuel accounts for half of the TAP’s current overall annual export capacity of 10 billion cubic meters (bcm). Italy contracted the purchase of 8 bcm, while Greece and Bulgaria halve the rest 2 bcm.
Azerbaijan has been delivering natural gas through the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to European markets since December 31, 2020. TAP starts at the Turkish-Greek border and runs along 773-kilometer onshore and 105-kilometer offshore routes traversing Greece and Albania toward its end destination in Italy.
Meanwhile, TAP forms a part of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) mega pipeline, which is designed and built for increasing and diversifying European energy supplies by bringing Caspian natural gas to Europe for the first time. The three-segmented SGC traverses seven countries and six regulatory systems, links 11 different investors, and initially supplies 12 multiple gas buyers, primarily in Europe. The corridor’s 16 bcm annual transportation volume is shared between Turkey and European Union countries, which receive 6 bcm and 10 bcm, respectively.
TAP is seen as a strategically and economically important energy carrier and is hailed for providing reliable access to an all-new source of natural gas for Europe, which considerably depends on foreign supplies. The pipeline plays a significant role in boosting Europe’s energy security, supply diversification, as well as decarbonization objectives by facilitating an uninterrupted flow of Azerbaijani gas from the BP-operated Shah Deniz-2 subsea field.
With room for further expansion in annual capacity, TAP’s supplies could reach more European countries. Marija Savova, TAP Head of Commercial, believes the pipeline has the potential to supply 20 bcm of gas annually.
“While TAP’s continuous operations since the end of last year boost liquidity on the gas markets, it is important to remember that there is an ongoing market test, and TAP can expand in stages, up to double its initial capacity. While the non-binding phase of the 2021 market test has just ended, all interested parties can participate in the upcoming binding phase,” Savova noted.
If expanded, some Western Balkan countries, including Montenegro and North Macedonia, could also receive the Azerbaijani gas. TAP supplies would be the first-ever batch of pipeline gas reaching households in Montenegro.
In the first quarter of 2021, gas consumption in the European Union increased by 10 bcm or 7.6 percent compared to the same period in 2020, reaching 132 bcm. The EU net gas imports amounted to 78.5 bcm during the same period. Russia supplied the largest amounts of natural gas to Europe, holding its market dominance.