The first phase of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) pipeline from Azerbaijan to Europe will open in July and could be expanded after it becomes fully operational in 2020, Azeri state energy company SOCAR said.
SGC’s three pipelines — the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the South Caucasus Pipeline through Georgia and the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) through Turkey — will provide the first direct route for carrying gas from Azerbaijan’s giant Shah Deniz field to markets in Europe.
“We will start first commercial supplies of gas to Turkey (through TANAP) in early July this year,” Vitaly Baylarbayov, SOCAR deputy vice president, said in an interview with Reuters.
TAP, the 870-kilometer (541-mille) end piece of the $40 billion corridor, has been more challenging, due to protests against it by environmentalists in Italy.
The European Investment Bank approved a 1.5 billion euro ($1.9 billion) loan for TAP earlier this month and Baylarbayov said that the operating consortium would continue to seek funds for the project.
“We can say now that the (SGC) pipeline will be put into operation on time, in 2020,” Baylarbayov said.