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TANAP ‘Energy Silk Road’ Opens Today

TANAP ‘Energy Silk Road’ Opens Today

The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), a natural gas pipeline from Azerbaijan passing through Georgia and Turkey to Europe, has opened today in Eskisehir.

TANAP, a 1,850km pipeline, will travel through Georgia to better connect Europe with natural gas from the Caspian Sea as a way to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.

The leaders of Turkey and Azerbaijan have inaugurated a key pipeline carrying natural gas from Azerbaijan’s gas fields to Turkish markets and eventually to Europe.

Construction on the $10 billion TANAP project began in March 2015.

The first gas transportation via TANAP is planned for 2018. The 1,850km pipeline will deliver 10 bcm to Europe once it is connected to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) by 2020. By 2023 TANAP’s capacity will rise to 23 bcm per year and then to 31 bcm by 2026.

TANAP will bring natural gas from Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey to Europe, and from sources other than Russia. It is a central part of the Southern Gas Corridor, which will connect the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to Europe through the South Caucasus Pipeline, TANAP and the TAP, which brings gas from western Turkey to Greece, Albania and across the Adriatic to Italy.

The system — backed by the EU and United States — will allow Azerbaijan for the first time to pump its gas direct to Europe while bypassing Russia.

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‘Energy Silk Road’

Erdogan inaugurated the pipeline at a ceremony attended by leaders including Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in the Turkish region of Eskisehir southeast of Istanbul, one of 20 provinces in Turkey the pipeline passes through.

“TANAP is the latest fruit of a shared vision,” Erdogan said at the opening ceremony, describing the pipeline as part of a new “energy Silk Road”.

The leaders then watched as the final section of the pipeline was lifted into place and then turned a wheel to allow the gas to flow.

The Turkish leader is battling a tightly fought contest for presidential and parliamentary elections, boasting at rallies nationwide of his ability to deliver on big projects.

During Erdogan’s over 15 years in power, first as premier and then as president, Turkey has seen a massive revamp of infrastructure with new high speed rail lines, roads and the Bosphorus in Istanbul spanned by one new bridge and two undersea tunnels.

He is touting a daring new plan to build a Panama-style shipping canal in Istanbul as boasting that a brand new airport for the city is near complete.

The 1,850 kilometre (1,150 mile) TANAP will initially pump 2 billion cubic metres of gas annually for use in Turkey, rising to 6 billion. By 2019 another 10 billion cubic metres of gas will be delivered into Greece for use in Europe.

A majority 58 percent in the TANAP project is owned by Azerbaijan through state energy firm SOCAR. Turkish state energy firm Botas and British energy giant BP have minority stakes of 30 percent and 12 percent respectively.

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But rights activists have slammed the Southern Gas Corridor projects, saying its Western backers are turning a blind eye to rights violations in Azerbaijan under the rule of Aliyev.

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