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The Jewel In The Crown Of The European Gas Game

In a slight detour from our usual oil-focused weekly commentary on burning issues of the day, let’s look at Europe’s latest gas infrastructure project, the jewel in the crown of the European Union’s Southern Gas Corridor initiative, the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP). TANAP has been completed by the first days of July and is now fully ready to export gas from the Shah Deniz 2 project (whose 2nd phase is now gradually ramping up). Azerbaijan’s gas exports via Turkish territory to Europe were first perceived as the first step in the EU’s quest for new import routes, yet now seems to be the only viable one that does not entail Russia (and even this might be revisited soon).

Promoting the Southern Gas Corridor is Brussels’ lingo for ridding EU countries of dependence on Russia, Central and Eastern Europe’s traditional gas supplier, oftentimes the only one. Never would you find Russia explicitly stated, yet phrases like “breaking the monopoly of the current gas supplier to Bulgaria” has Gazprom written all over it. In view of this, perhaps it is not surprising that most of TANAP’s financing came from external financial entities, most notably the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank Group. Apart from gas interconnectors between Central European nations, TANAP is the only physical conduit currently under construction that is destined to actually…




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