Belgian ambassador: Southern Gas Corridor to increase competition in Europe’s gas market (PHOTO)

Southern Gas Corridor, which envisages transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe, will increase competition in Europe’s gas market, Bert Schoofs, ambassador of Belgium to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkmenistan, told Trend.

“Energy is the main strategic element of Belgian-Azerbaijani economic cooperation. In this regard, I think 2020 is an important year, when the Southern Gas Corridor, which envisages transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe, will be fully commissioned. Belgian company Fluxys holds 19 percent in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which is the European leg of the Southern Gas Corridor. Fluxys is not a gas producer or consumer, it mainly owns gas infrastructure. In that sense, Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR and Fluxys work well together, as they are complementary in their activities,” he said.

Schoofs said the major achievement of the Southern Gas Corridor is that it can transport gas from Azerbaijan and eventually other countries in the region to Europe.

“This is important, because it gives European countries an alternative to other gas corridors. The Southern Gas Corridor will increase competition in Europe’s gas market. Azerbaijan exports its gas and its territory can be used for transit of gas from other countries as well,” the ambassador added.

Noting that some Belgian companies are subcontractors in Azerbaijan’s energy sector, Schoofs highlighted the bilateral cooperation in renewable energy sphere as well.

“The biggest solar power plant in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Azerbaijan, operating since 2016, has been equipped with technology of Belgian Soltech company. This company is aiming to become active in other parts of Azerbaijan, so the cooperation is already there. This company and other Belgian companies are very interested to have projects in renewable energy sphere in Azerbaijan,” he added.

The Southern Gas Corridor project aims to increase and diversify European energy supply by bringing gas resources from the Caspian Sea to markets in Europe.

The Southern Gas Corridor comprises the following four projects: (i) operation of Shah Deniz natural gas-condensate field (“SD1” project) and its full-field development (“SD2′” project), (ii) the operation of the South Caucasus Pipeline (“SCP” project) and its expansion (“SCPX” project), (iii) the construction of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (“TANAP” project) and (iv) the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (“TAP” project) (SD2, SCPX, TANAP and TAP collectively, the “Projects”).

The Projects have an estimated investment cost of approximately $40 billion. Upon completion, the SD2 project will add a further 16 bcm of natural gas per annum to 10.9 bcma (maximum production capacity) already produced under SD1 project.

Total length of the newly constructed SCPX, TANAP and TAP pipelines will be more than 3,200 kilometres.