Turkey's 1st realistic step to energy hub dream Turkey's Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project has become a significant move for the country's 'energy hub' dream, with its forthcoming key role in regional energy strategies.
As a net hydro carbon importer, Turkey aims to reduce its external dependence by trading on its geostrategic position in regional and global energy transfer. After three years of negotiations, on Oct. 25, 2011, Azerbaijan and Turkey signed an intergovernmental agreement on transferring the natural gas of Caspian Sea to Europe through Turkey. On Dec. 26, 2011, the two countries signed an MOU for the construction of TANAP. The 1,850 kilometer-long pipeline is planned as part of the Southern Gas Corridor project that will carry natural gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field on the Caspian Sea, passing through Turkish territory, and entering Greece.
From there, the gas will be delivered to Europe by the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). On June 26, 2012, the then Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed off their authority on the official TANAP project, while the host country agreement – a governmental and legal approval of the project, was signed between SOCAR and Turkey’s Energy Ministry. In Turkey, TANAP passes through 20 provinces, 67 districts and nearly 600 villages from east to west in the country. Starting in 2018, the pipeline will deliver 6 billion cubic meters (bcm) to Turkey while 10 bcm will be delivered to Europe in 2020. On Dec. 17, 2013, the parties involved signed the final investment agreements for TANAP and TAP pipelines. On Sept. 10, 2014, the groundbreaking ceremony of the South Caucasus Pipeline took place in Azerbaijan’s Sangachal Terminal near Baku. Turkey currently imports 6.6 bcm of gas per year from Azerbaijan.
With the additional 6 bcm in 2018, the share of Azeri gas in the country’s total consumption will increase to 25 percent from its current 15 percent. On March 13, 2015, the partnership agreement for the project was signed by all partners; Turkey’s state-owned gas company, BOTAS, the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and BP. Azeri SOCAR has a 58 percent share in the project, while BOTAS has a 30 percent share and BP owns 12 percent share. Shareholders plan to increase the capacity of the 56-inch pipeline to 23 bcm by 2023 and later to 31 bcm by 2026. On March 17, 2015, the groundbreaking ceremony of TANAP was held in the northeastern Turkish city of Kars, with the participation of Erdogan, Aliyev, and Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili. – Ensuring gas supply to Europe Due to unstable political relations between Russia and Europe, TANAP is expected to ensure energy security of not only Turkey, but also of Europe.
In a Russia dominated market, natural gas from the Azeri Caspian Sea will help secure Europe’s vast demands, and help diversify sources for the region. Even before its operational calendar, TANAP also appears as an option for potential routes for Iran and Turkmenistan gas to Europe. According to experts, after Iran’s return to international markets in the post-sanctions era, TANAP could be the route to carry ‘new sources’ to the European market. Furthermore, Turkmen gas may have a chance to flow to Europe through the continuous line of the South Caucasus Pipeline –TANAP through to TAP. With such potential, TANAP could be considered as the country’s first step to realize its ‘energy hub’ dream.
The aim of the TANAP Project is to bring natural gas produced from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz-2 gas field, and other areas of the Caspian Sea, primarily to Turkey, but also on to Europe. The TANAP Project, along with the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) form the elements of the Southern Gas Corridor.
TANAP will run from the Turkish border with Georgia, beginning in the Turkish village of Türkgözü in the Posof district of Ardahan, will run through 20 provinces including Kars, Erzurum, Erzincan, Bayburt, Gümüşhane, Giresun, Sivas, Yozgat, Kırşehir, Kırıkkale, Ankara, Eskişehir, Bilecik, Kütahya, Bursa, Balıkesir, Çanakkale, Tekirdağ and Edirne until it ends at the Greek border in the İpsala district of Edirne. From this point, the TAP Pipeline will connect to convey natural gas to European nations. Two off-take stations are located within Turkey for national natural gas transmission, one located in Eskişehir and the other in Thrace. With 19km running under the Sea of Marmara, the main pipeline within Turkey reach a total of 1850km, along with off-take stations and aboveground installations, with their numbers and properties detailed below:
- 7 compressor stations,
- 4 measuring stations,
- 11 pigging stations,
- 49 block valve stations and
- 2 off-take stations to supply Turkey’s national natural gas network
In addition to the aboveground installations, temporary camps to accommodate workers, pipe storage areas and access roads necessary during the construction phase will also be built.