Photo: Illustration; Source: SOCAR

Azerbaijan sends first gas export via TAP pipeline

Azerbaijan has started commercial natural gas supplies to Europe via the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). First gas reached Greece, Bulgaria as well as Italy via the Melendugno interconnection point.

For the first time in history, Azerbaijan’s natural gas reached the European market through a direct pipeline connection.

Following the start of commercial operations on 15 November 2020, SOCAR said on the last day of 2020 that first gas reached Italy via the Melendugno interconnection point with SNAM Rete Gas (SRG), as well as Greece and Bulgaria via the Nea Mesimvria interconnection point with DESFA.

With this, Azerbaijan gained direct access to the European gas market – the world’s largest natural gas importer.

President of SOCAR Rovnag Abdullayev said: ”On this historic day, we express our deep gratitude to the partner companies, specialists and all our colleagues, who participated in TAP, Shah Deniz-2, and the Southern Gas Corridor projects, contributing to the first delivery of Azerbaijani gas to the European market.

As a shareholder in all Southern Gas Corridor segments, SOCAR is proud of the successful completion of this historic mission”.

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Luca Schieppati, TAP’s managing director, added: “Today is a historic day for our project, as well as for our host countries and Europe’s energy landscape. TAP is an essential part of the continent’s gas network, contributing to the energy transition roadmap. We offer a reliable, direct, and cost-effective transportation route to South-East European countries and beyond”.

SOCAR noted that the second phase of the market test enabling the future expansion of TAP, doubling the pipeline’s capacity to 20bcm per year, will be launched in summer.

To clarify, TAP transports natural gas from the giant Shah Deniz field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to Europe. The 878-kilometre-long pipeline connects with the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Turkish-Greek border in Kipoi, crosses Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Southern Italy.

Source: TAP AG
Source: TAP AG

As for the field it is transporting gas from, the first phase of the Shah Deniz field began production in 2006, delivering more than 10 bcm a year of gas to Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey.

The second phase started output in 2018, adding 16 bcm of gas production capacity at its peak to bring total capacity to 26 bcm.

TAP’s shareholding is comprised of BP, SOCAR, and Snam with 20 per cent each with Fluxys, Enagas, and Axpo holding 19, 16, and 5 per cent, respectively.