The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which transports Azerbaijani gas to Europe, including Italy, has three major benefits for this country, Francis Perrin, Senior Fellow at the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS, Rabat) and at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS, Paris), told Trend.
“Italy receives natural gas from Azerbaijan (the Shah Deniz 2 project in the Caspian Sea) through the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), which is composed of the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP - Azerbaijan and Georgia), the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP, Turkey) and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP (Greece, Albania, Adriatic Sea and Italy). Italy is the main market for this gas with about 80-85 percent of the volumes transported by TAP since the beginning. For this country the SGC and the TAP are very important as they allow Italy to increase and to diversify its gas supplies, especially in the very difficult context of the war in Ukraine and its severe impacts on Russian energy supplies to the European Union (EU). It is the reason why, before the war, this project was considered by the EU as a project of common interest (PCI). It is the first time that Caspian gas flows to Europe,” he said.
Perrin note that the SGC, which also includes TAP, has opened a new source of gas for the EU and it could be used in the future to transport gas produced in countries in the Caspian region other than Azerbaijan.
TAP’s initial capacity is 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year. In 2021, Azerbaijan's gas supplies to Europe were 8.1 bcm and they should reach 12 bcm/year in 2022-2023.
“On 18 July 2022 the European Union and Azerbaijan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on a strategic partnership in the field of energy. Azerbaijan committed itself to double to 20 bcm/year the capacity of the SGC by 2027. From the very beginning TAP was conceived with a 20 bcm/year possible capacity. For this, two additional compressor stations would be needed, one in Greece and one in Albania. This MOU is part of the global gas and energy strategies of the EU since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. The EU wants to get rid of Russian gas by 2027 and has signed agreements with different gas exporting countries, including the U.S. and Egypt/Israel,” said the expert.
He noted that thanks to existing and future gas connections gas transported by TAP can supply several European countries, especially in South-East Europe, including some non-EU countries. Italy has sometimes reexported part of the gas coming from TAP, which contributes to a greater energy security in Europe.
“In the longer-term TAP could be used for hydrogen supplies to Europe as hydrogen will very likely be part of the energy and climate solutions of the future. This option is mentioned in the MOU between the EU and Azerbaijan,” noted Perrin.