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Linking the Caspian to Europe: Repercussions of the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline 31 octobre 2012

Posted by Acturca in Caucasus / Caucase, Energy / Energie, EU / UE, Turkey / Turquie.
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Rethink Paper (Rethink Institute) No. 6, October 2012

Michael J. G. Cain, Rovshan Ibrahimov, Fevzi Bilgin *

The intergovernmental agreement recently signed between the governments of Azerbaijan and Turkey begins the next phase of the Trans-Anatolian natural gas pipeline project (TANAP).  The pipeline, which is estimated to cost $7 billion, will transport 16 billion cubic meters of gas each year from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey, with most of the gas volumes going to Europe.  Deliveries of Azerbaijani gas are expected to begin in 2017, while project planning starts in 2013.

Although the volumes of gas reaching Europe are relatively small compared with the original Nabucco project, TANAP officially opens the coveted “southern gas corridor” to EU states.  This corridor will provide Caspian gas directly to European markets not controlled by Moscow or Tehran.  The Nabucco pipeline project would have delivered more gas from Central Asia across the Caspian Sea and Turkey into the heart of Central Europe, somewhere between 45-90 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year to Europe.  Although the construction of the Nabucco pipeline would not have eliminated European dependence on Russian gas supplies, it would have undoubtedly weakened the Russian gas pricing monopoly and possibly contributed to greater political independence of Eastern European and Black Sea littoral states from direct Russian foreign policy interventions.

* Michael Cain is a professor of political science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (USA), Maryland’s state honors college. Rovshan Ibrahimov is the head of Foreign Policy Analysis Department at Center for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the head of International Relations Department at Qafqaz University in Baku. Fevzi Bilgin is the executive director of the Rethink Institute in Washington, DC.

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