Bottom Line: Now that Nabucco is out of the picture and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) has been given the green light for Azeri gas supplies, the TAP consortium is being rearranged as bets are hedged by producers and shippers.
Analysis: As of 30 July, the TAP consortium includes Norway’s Statoil (20%), SOCAR (the Azeri state oil company, with 20%), BP (20%), France’s Total SA (10%), Belgium’s Fluxys pipeline and storage company (16%), German E.ON (9%) and Swiss Axpo (5%).
TAP itself will be 900 kilometers long and will run from the Turkish-Greek border, through Albania, and across the Adriatic sea where it will hook up with Italy’s pipeline network. While Italy has been the main destination for this Azeri gas, now the talk is of Western Europe—particularly Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium and Great Britain. At the start, TAP will have a capacity of about 10 billion cubic meters per year, but later this will be around twice that.
Parallel to this we have the Trans-Anatolia Pipeline project (TANAP), which will bring gas across Turkey to the border of the European Union. This is an Azeri project that the Azeris will largely control—something Europe couldn’t have done. (Turkey’s Botas and Turkish Petroleum hold 15% and 5%, respectively). TANAP will have a 16-billion-cubic meter yearly capacity, about 6 billion cubic meters of which is expected to go to the Turkish market, and 10 billion cubic meters to Europe.
Recommendation: For all intents and purposes, we can view this as SOCAR’s official entrance into the European downstream gas business. But what we like most about it is the overall upstream-downstream connection here. The key producers now own the infrastructure. But what makes TAP tick is the fact of the Azeri share in the project, the Azeri gas and the addition of the Azeri-controlled TANAP pipeline through Turkey. This corners the market. The deal will significantly reduce Gazprom’s hold on Western Europe, and also on a large chunk of Southeastern Europe, but it leaves Central Europe (namely Hungary and Romania) out in the cold, and in the grip of Russia. They will now scramble to come up with inter-connector pipelines to tie in to countries that will benefit from the TAP largesse.