Key policy ties in with the Maltese government’s prospective energy shift to gas, supplied by Azeri state corporation SOCAR
The European Union is looking southwards to develop a “southern gas corridor” for natural gas from Azerbaijan to fuel the European mainland.
The European Commission released an EU energy security strategy earlier this week, in response to the political crisis in Ukraine which is threatening gas supplies from Russia, after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia could cut off supplies to Ukraine unless the latter starts to pay off its gas debt, which Russia’s Gazprom says stands at €2.5 billion.
It is now expected that by 2020, 10 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas produced in Azerbaijan will reach the European market through the southern gas corridor.
“Moreover, this new pipeline connection is vital in providing a connection to the Middle East. The currently envisaged infrastructure in Turkey could accommodate up to 25 bcm/y for the European market. In the longer term perspective, other countries such as Turkmenistan, Iraq and Iran, if conditions are met to lift the sanctions regime, could also significantly contribute to the enlargement of the Southern Gas Corridor,” the Commission said.
The more interesting keyword is the “Mediterranean gas hub” which the EU would like to develop in the south of Europe together with North African and Eastern Mediterranean partners.
Italy is also placing increasing importance on completing the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to bring Azeri gas to Italy, but is also supporting the South Stream project, which will transport Russian gas bypassing Ukraine.
Italy is angling at becoming a southern European gas hub able to transit African supplies into Europe as it develops reverse flow capabilities at its northern borders.
Full article: EU wants ‘Mediterranean hub’ for Azeri gas (Malta Today)