At the very beginning of the year, the same challenges remained in the field of one of the most important economic spheres – energy. The war in Ukraine is still going on, and the forecasts for the end of military operations are more and more uncertain. In the field of energy, the uncertainty about greater energy independence remains. The most affected remains the European Union, as well as the countries in Europe that are not yet members.
However, Russian gas, on which the Union is still very dependent, is not easy to compensate. The fact is that last year the European Commission, as well as the high political factors of the larger countries in the Union, made great efforts to find gas and fill the storage.
Although progress has been made, notably with Germany’s deal for liquefied natural gas from Qatar, additional sources of natural gas are still needed. Only in this way will the countries of the Union provide sufficient energy stability that will guarantee economic growth. This is especially significant for Germany, which is most dependent on Russian gas.
Finding alternative sources of energy, especially in the natural gas segment, remains the number one priority for the European Union. Investments in renewable energy sources are also high on the list of priorities in the Union, as evidenced by numerous projects. However, natural gas seems to remain an important prerequisite precisely for the successful implementation of the green agenda and a complete energy transition.
The year 2023 is crucial for one of the most important projects – the TANAP gas pipeline, through which larger quantities of natural gas should come from Azerbaijan to the European Union. Azerbaijan has large amounts of natural gas, and that is why Brussels has high hopes for this project, which transfers gas from Azerbaijan through Turkey, and further through Greece to the EU.
The gas pipeline, which is 3500 km long, should increase the amount of natural gas this year, according to the announcements. It is during this year that the second phase of the development of this project should begin. It is planned to increase the capacity of TANAP from 16 to 24 bcm, and on the branch of the TAP gas pipeline that goes under the Adriatic Sea to Italy, the capacity will be increased from 10 to 20 bcm.
This year, the amount of gas supplied to the Union will increase to 12 billion cubic meters, which will compensate for the lack of additional gas coming from Russia. This was agreed upon last year through the Memorandum of Understanding and Strategic Energy Partnership between the EU and Azerbaijan. This memorandum foresees an increase in the delivered quantities for the EU starting from 2023, but also a constant increase until 2022 when the delivered quantities should reach 20 billion cubic meters per year.
In order to realize these points that are part of the political agreement, additional steps are necessary to harmonize the regulation, as well as investments. It is already announced by Azerbaijan that new gas fields will be opened, which will increase the amount of gas and will be able to satisfy the demand in the markets.
TANAP and TAP are one of the most significant projects that can play a key role in the energy transition, and also make a serious energy diversification. This will mean new relations in the markets, especially in Europe, but also in Asia and beyond. And not only on the energy level but also on the political level.
The development of this project is significant for Azerbaijan, but even more so for Turkey, which has a particularly significant role in the political talks related to the war in Ukraine. TANAP and its development are indeed a major turning point and the changes that will occur should be monitored, as they will affect future positions.