The Southern Gas Corridor, a project of pipelines to bring new gas supplies to Europe, is running on time and on budget, a BP senior executive said today (12 May).
The Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) consists of a chain of pipelines which will transport gas from the Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan to European markets for the first time.
Around 10 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year of Azeri gas should reach Europe by 2020 at the latest via the Trans-Atlantic Pipeline as well as the South Caucasus Pipeline through Georgia and the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) through Turkey.
BP is developing the Shah Deniz II field and has stakes in the pipelines, along with other companies.
“We do see it as very scalable. It is a $45 billion project and we have already awarded contracts for about a third of that. It is moving ahead on time and on budget,” Peter Mather, BP’s UK country head and vice president of Europe, said at an event at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London.
The first gas is expected to be transported to Turkey at the end of 2018, with supply to Europe expected by 2020.
But EURACTIV.com has learned that TAP, the pipeline representing the final stretch of the Southern gas corridor from the Turkey-Greece border to Santa Foca in southern Italy, faces difficulties because of protests by locals citizens in Italy against the project.
“There have been a number of protests by populations in certain towns close to the point of entry of the offshore pipeline to Italy, on environmental concerns, and expertise has been dragging one more than one could have expected”, said the expert, who asked not to be named.
Asked by EURACTIV it Russian covert action could be suspected there, the expert said:
“There is plenty of rumours the Russians are behind it. But that would come as a surprise to anybody, because Russians don’t want any gas coming from any route apart from their own route.”
Russia is trying to revive its own Poseidon offshore link which resembles the final offshore section of TAP. What remains unclear is how the Russian gas will reach Greece in the first place, with two options currently on the table ― via Turkey or Bulgaria.