EU 'to Extend' Southern Gas Corridor from Azerbaijan
The EU would extend the route for supplies through the Southern Gas Corridor and its pipes will make their way further into Europe's mainland, according to reports.
Russia's Vedomosti, which cites sources from the European Commission, suggests that pipes could lead into France and Spain and this could increase the amount of Azerbaijani gas received from the Union.
According to the same EC representative, the prospects of importing from Turkmenistan and Iran are also on the agenda.
A total of EUR 5.8 B will be put aside for the new plans, which could virtually turn the Southern Gas Corridor into Europe's top priority project.
The Corridor envisages that a pipeline system called TANAP-TAP should be built from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz deposits to Georgia and Turkey and further to Greece, Albania and Italy.
About 6 B cubic meters of gas could be thus pumped into Turkey every year, while Europe could receive up to 10 B cubic meters. (Present Russian-originated deliveries amount to over 160 B a year).
Construction is scheduled to be complete by 2019.
The EU is currently looking into ways to reduce its energy dependence from Russia and is considering whether to abandon the South Stream project, which would favour the status quo.
Turkey, at the same time, has recently reiterated its strong commitment to carrying out the TANAP-TAP, while also suggesting Bulgaria might become involved if it wishes to do so.
Spain's Foreign Minister Manuel Garcia-Margallo suggested earlier in April his country might take part in the Southern Corridor. Margallo was quoted by La Vanguardia as saying that Spain and Azerbaijan were situated "on the central spots of this Southern Corridor that would carry energy from this part of the world [Azerbaijan] to the EU," while on a visit to Baku.
In 2013, France signed for its part a contract for gas deliveries from Azerbaijan amounting to 2.6 B cubic meters. Poland said it could also consider supplies from the Caucasian state.
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