MOSCOW, June 28 (RIA Novosti) – The consortium operating Azerbaijan’s offshore Shah Deniz gas field announced Friday that it has chosen the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which travels through Greece, Albania and under the Adriatic Sea to Italy, as the route it will use to pump Caspian gas to Western Europe.
The decision is likely to be a fatal blow to the Nabucco pipeline, once strongly supported by the European Union, which was planned to pass through the Balkans along a similar path to that due to be taken by Gazprom’s $39 billion South Stream project to deliver Russian gas to European markets.
Gordon Birrell, regional president of BP, one of the leading members of the Shah Deniz consortium, said the companies had been considering various pipelines for over two years.
“We believe today’s decision is an important milestone in the consortium’s multi-phased vision to opening the Southern [Gas] Corridor, which initially will deliver up to 10 billion cubic meters of gas a year to customers in Europe,” he said, speaking in Baku on Friday.
The Southern Gas Corridor will pump Caspian gas through the South Caucasus Pipeline to the Turkish-European Union border, and then through the Trans Anatolia Pipeline and TAP, which is 800 km long, into Western Europe. It will give the continent an energy corridor that is not dependent on Russia, or countries closely politically aligned with Russia, and is in direct competition with the Russia-backed South Stream, on which building work began last year.
The Shah Deniz consortium is led by international oil majors BP and Statoil, and Azerbaijan’s national oil company, SOCAR, and comprises several other international oil companies.