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TAP, SOCAR, BP officials talk SGC potential, challenges, implementation

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The implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project to transport Caspian natural gas to Western Europe is progressing according to schedule, said the article published on the Natural Gas Europe website.

TAP-superThe Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for the EU. It envisages the transportation of gas from the Caspian Sea region to the European countries through Georgia and Turkey.

At the initial stage, the gas to be produced as part of the Stage 2 of development of Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field is considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor projects. Other sources can also connect to this project at a later stage.

As part of the Stage 2 of the Shah Deniz development, gas will be exported to Turkey and European markets by expanding the South Caucasus Pipeline and the construction of Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline.

Michael Hoffman, External Affairs Director, Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), said indeed the pipeline project is on schedule. For example, contracts have been issued, he said, to build 100km of roads, 52 bridges in Albania that are needed for the project.

“That’s pre-works activity that needs to be done given the low level quality of the infrastructure there,” Hoffman added.

He said, TAP is reaching out to 350 local companies to see how they can potentially participate in the project. Moreover, Hoffman said there are 55,000 landowners and land users to contend with, meaning TAP must deal with a huge number of agreements.

Land issues in Greece and Albania are progressing well, he added.

“The main challenge now is to make sure that, when construction proper happens in the beginning of 2016, that we have all of the land plots, regulatory issues, permitting in place,” Hoffman said.

Via various interconnecting infrastructure, like Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria, hopefully, 3 billion cubic meters of gas will be delivered to Bulgaria, he added.

“Deliveries might also be made into the western Balkan nations like Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.”

Hoffman added that Fluxys company having taken the final investment decision on physical reverse flow of their transit gas means that by 2018 for the first time Azerbaijani gas could potentially reach the UK.

“So I think there’s a lot of potential there.”

Furthermore, Janet Jonas, head of Caspian Gas Marketing, BP, of the Southern Corridor said that it is one of the biggest and most complex energy projects being developed in the world, linking a source of gas production – the Caspian – with European gas markets.

She added that this project has been launched on the basis of the Shah Deniz field, a large gas condensate field in the Caspian Sea of Azerbaijan which is already in operation, and serving customers in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

“Stage 2 of Shah Deniz will bring gas not only to those markets, but an additional 60 billion cubic meters of gas along the Southern Gas Corridor, and also serve customers in Greece, Bulgaria and Italy with 16 billion cubic meters of gas,” said Jonas.

BP being the operator, has drilled seven production wells, which will underpin the first sales and deliveries from Shah Deniz 2, she said.

Jonas said that additional construction is underway at the Sangachal gas terminal, band and pipe are arriving for the first stages of construction, and work has begun on two new compressor stations in Georgia.

Meanwhile, Vitaliy Baylarbayov, Deputy Vice President at State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) said that everything is going ahead of schedule.

He added that gas from Shah Deniz will come onshore in time, but the pipelines must be coordinated. The timing must be perfect, he said, because there is not enough storage to accommodate the gas if it is not delivered.

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