LOS ANGELES, July 25 – Azerbaijan’s Center for Strategic Studies (CSS) has published Strategic Imperative: Azerbaijani Gas Strategy and the E.U.’s Southern Corridor.
Written by Gulmira Rzayeva and Theodoros G.R. Tsakiris, the report takes up the context surrounding the selection of the main export pipeline route for the transportation of Shah Deniz 2 gas to Europe via Turkey.
Europe’s Southern Gas Corridor Strategy is founded on the need to maximize imports of non-Russian gas via non-Russian controlled territory to establish a fourth supply route in addition to Russia, Norway and North Africa.
The European Commission has recognized as potential sources of supply for the Southern Gas Corridor not only gas from the Caspian and Central Asian regions but also gas from the Middle East, notably Iraq and Egypt.
The authors claim that serious discussion on the feasibility of the two remaining Southern Gas Corridor Strategy pipeline projects, namely Nabucco West and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), requires an examination of the geopolitical environment.
They say that the geopolitical environment largely will determine “the best option” for the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic and its partners in the Shah Deniz gas project.
Rzayeva and Tsakiris present the competing interests of regional state players as well as Shah Deniz members in the South Caucasus component of the transportation chain up to the entrance of Azerbaijan’s gas into the Turkish national grid in Erzurum via the South Caucasus Pipeline.
The authors then make specific reference to the emergence of the Trans Anatolian Project pipeline that effectively replaces Nabucco’s route through Turkey.
Then Rzayeva and Tsakiris discuss the prospects of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline and its relation to the demise of the original Nabucco project.
They also analyze the different corporate perspectives focusing on SOCAR’s strategic goals and the pros and cons of the two remaining pipeline projects, saying that both TAP and Nabucco West offer “significant value” to Azerbaijan and SOCAR.
Rzayeva and Tsakiris say that, “TAP is perceived as more commercially antagonistic project, which nevertheless lacks the solid political support that Nabucco West enjoys not only from the states it transits through but also from the European Commission itself.”
© Glamma Productions Inc 2012