Angela Merkel gives new impetus to the Southern Gas Corridor project

August 24, 2018 8:49 amComments Off on Angela Merkel gives new impetus to the Southern Gas Corridor projectViews: 44

Gas corridorThe German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Azerbaijan this week, with the main purpose to increase supplies of Caspian gas to Europe.

According to a top German official, Berlin is “very interested” in the development of the so-called Southern Gas Corridor connecting Azerbaijan with Europe through Turkey. Its development is an important part of European efforts to diversify gas supplies to the continent and secure alternative imports from Russia.

The German Chancellor’s unexpected decision to take steps to speed up work on the axis coincides with the strengthening of US President Donald Trump’s criticism of the project Nord Stream 2, which he says further adds to Europe’s dependence, in particular Germany, on Moscow.

Germany would like the expansion of the corridor to include “blue fuel” from other countries such as Turkmenistan, Iran and Iraq.

Merkel’s visit is taking place against the background of the ongoing construction of the gas pipeline from the Azerbaijan field Shah Deniz-2 to the EU. The Southern Gas Corridor Project is worth 40 billion USD, and with its length of 3,500 km is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the global oil and gas industry.

The German official also welcomes the agreement reached earlier this month on the status of the oil-rich Caspian Sea between the countries that surround it – Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

In his words, this could be a “first step” in the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline that will supply gas from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and thus “help diversify” European energy imports.

Germany is subject to strong criticism for Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is 9.5 billion USD project linking directly the Russia with Europe’s largest economy. The new line, as well as the already existing Nord Stream, together will be able to carry 110 billion cubic meters of gas per year – enough for almost 35% of Europe’s total demand.

At the NATO summit in Brussels last month, the US President Donald Trump sharply criticized Nord Stream 2, pointing out that with its purchases of “blue fuel” Germany became a “hostage” to Russia.

The EU and the United States welcome the Southern Gas Corridor, which they think is a way for Europe to reduce its dependence on Russian gas. The project will transport Caspian gas through three linked pipelines from Azerbaijan to southern Italy and is identified as one of the European “priority projects”.

The central part of it occupies the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP), which passes through Turkey, Greece, Albania and Italy.

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