Azerbaijan holds the main cards as gas producer country, with cash reserves to build a pipeline that Europe seems unable to finance, and coherent planning that eludes Europeans outside the European Commission. Thanks to Azerbaijan, moreover, Turkey can finally advance toward its goal of becoming a transit county for Caspian and Mideastern gas to Europe. Other transit projects, on which Turkey had based that hope, never came close to implementation via Turkey (Russian Blue Stream Two, Iranian gas, Nabucco, Arab Gas Pipeline from Syria) while gas projects in northern Iraq or offshore Cyprus look unrealistic for the foreseeable future. Thus far, it is mainly Azerbaijan that has enabled Turkey to become a transit country for oil (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline) and is now poised to make Turkey into a major transit country for gas. Ankara could jeopardize that prospect, however, in case it reverts to its former ambitions to become a “hub” country, rather than a transit country.
Caspian gas politics and the investment decisions are clearly moving into a post-Nabucco era. Among the five rival solutions (TAGP, SEEP, Nabucco, ITGI, TAP), the Azerbaijan-led TAGP holds an unmatched combination of comparative advantages (see “Trans-Anatolia Gas Project and its rivals in Comparative Perspective,” EDM, February 2). Baku’s decision to proceed with TAGP in partnership with Turkey has cut the decade-old Gordian knot of Caspian pipeline projects.
Full article: Post-Nabucco Era in Caspian Pipeline Business and Politics (The Jamestown Foundation)